Alberta--2012 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report
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The 2012 FDA electoral fairness audit of Alberta's legislative level of government uses new matrices in the audit process as outlined to the Research Methodology section of the report. These matrices ...

The 2012 FDA electoral fairness audit of Alberta's legislative level of government uses new matrices in the audit process as outlined to the Research Methodology section of the report. These matrices are more comprehensive of electoral systems than previous FDA audits, and therefore, the use of the new matrices may result in higher electoral fairness scores.

FDA auditors measured Alberta with a 54% overall electoral fairness score. (0% is the lowest score attainable; 50% is the minimum passing grade; 100% is the maximum and reasonably attainable score.)

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Alberta--2012 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report Document Transcript

  • 1. 2012 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta’s Provincial Electoral SystemIn terms of its legislated process, the Alberta provincial electoral system received an overallunacceptable electoral fairness score of 52.2 percent (out of a reasonably attainable score of100 percent). In addition, the Alberta system received two unacceptable passing scores andtwo unacceptable failing scores in the four audit sections.The FDA believes that these scores reflect both a strong core electoral process, and yetsignificant deficiencies in the areas of electoral finance and political content of media. TheFDA argues that the Alberta electoral process, in particular, dominance by the premier andcabinet of the Legislative Assembly, non-regulation of major media, high caps oncontributions and third party spending, inclusion of corporations and unions in the electoralprocess, and no campaign expenditure limits, undermines the legitimacy of Albertasdemocracy.The FDA believes that the Alberta electoral system requires reform in order to create a basisfor an equal playing field for candidates and parties and a broad and balanced electoraldiscourse. The FDA believes that the implementation of its reform recommendations willcreate an informed electorate, competitive elections, and an Alberta Legislature that moresignificantly reflects the voice of the people from its districts. Electoral Fairness Audit Completed February 28, 2012. Updated April 13, 2012. Updated June 28, 2012.
  • 2. Prepared by Mr. Stephen Garvey, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbiaand Master of Philosophy in Environment and Development, University of Cambridge.Purpose of Alberta Electoral Fairness Audit:The purpose of the Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA)’s electoral fairness audit (the“Audit”) is to determine a comprehensive grade for electoral fairness in Alberta at the legislative levelof government. This Audit is an extension of the FDA’s global audit of electoral fairness involving allcountries that hold political elections. The purpose of the global audit is to quantify electoral fairness,establish benchmarks for electoral fairness, identify areas of democratic advancement and progression,and encourage democracy reform where needed.The goal of the FDAs Alberta report is to give the people of Alberta and other stakeholders aninformed, objective perspective of the Alberta provincial electoral system and providerecommendations for reform of the system. Albertans may want to use this information as a way to helpdetermine their 2012 electoral choices. The release of the FDA Alberta report just prior to the 2012Alberta Election coincides with this initiative.The views in this electoral fairness audit are the views of the FDA only. The FDA’s members are in noway affiliated with Elections Alberta or any of Albertas registered/non-registered political parties. TheAudit is an independent assessment based on objectivity, transparency and non-partisanship. The FDAassumes no responsibility or liability for any errors in the measurement and calculation of its auditresults or inaccuracies in its research of relevant Albertan legislation.About the Foundation for Democratic Advancement:The Foundation for Democratic Advancement is a non-partisan and independent democracy reform andadvocacy organization. The FDAs reforms center on increasing the voice of people in constituencies.Members of the FDA embrace the following principles: progress, innovation, objectivity, andtransparency. The FDAs mission is to advance fair and transparent democratic processes whereverelections occur, thereby bringing the people to the forefront democratic discourse. (For moreinformation on the FDA visit: www.democracychange.org)© 2012, Foundation for Democratic AdvancementAll rights reserved.Foundation for Democratic Advancement728 Northmount Drive NWP.O. Box 94, Calgary, Alberta,Canada, T2K 1P0An online version of this report can be found at: www.democracychange.orgFor further information and/or comments please contact the FDA at info@democracychange.org
  • 3. Table of Contents:Introduction 5Chapter 1: Electoral Finance 6Chapter Summary 6Introduction 6Audit Results 7Analysis 13Chapter 2 Political Content of the Media 15Chapter Summary 15Introduction 15Audit Results 16Analysis 19Chapter 3: Candidate and Party Influence 21Chapter Summary 21Introduction 21Audit Results 22Analysis 40Chapter 4: Voter Influence 42Chapter Summary 42Introduction 42Audit Results 43Analysis 59 Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 3
  • 4. Chapter 5: Overall Audit Results 61Chapter 6: Analysis 63Chapter 7: Conclusion 67Chapter 8: Recommendations 69References 72Definition of Key Terms 75History of the Alberta Political System 78Research Methodology 82Appendix 1: Alberta Legislation Excerpts on the Four Audit Sections 86Electoral Finance 86Political Content of Media 94Candidate and Party Influence 97Voter Influence 122FDA Audit Team And Associates 126 Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 4
  • 5. Introduction:The FDA audit of Albertas electoral legislation is based on non-partisanship and objectivity.The audit process entails three major components: 1. Research of Albertas electoral legislation. 2. Audit of the legislation based on audit team consensus, and FDA matrices and scoring scales. 3. Analysis of findings.The value of scores in the FDA matrices are based on fundamental democratic principles oflegislative neutrality, political freedom, and political fairness, and the comparative impact ofvariables on democracy. For example, if there is no electoral finance transparency then this resultwill impact other sections such as the legislative process, because without financial transparency,it will be difficult to enforce electoral finance laws and prevent and discover electoral financewrongdoing. Consequently, according to the FDA scoring system, zero financial transparencywill result in a zero score for legislative process as well.The FDA research component is objective, because it is simply a compilation of the legislativeand financial data for Alberta.The FDA audit component is both objective and subjective. It is objective when determining yesand no facts, such as does province A have caps on electoral contributions—yes or no? It issubjective because of the predetermined scores for each audit section, and the scores given foreach section. The FDA acknowledges that there is no absolute scoring system.The FDA minimizes subjectivity through non-partisanship, the predetermination of scores basedon consensus of FDA auditors, the application of core democratic concepts such as electorallegislative neutrality, political freedom, and political fairness, and the valuation of thecomparative impact of variables on democracy. In addition, the FDA has a minimum quorum offive experienced auditors during audit sessions. For further discussion of the FDA methodologyplease see the Research Methodology chapter on page 83. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 5
  • 6. Chapter One: Electoral FinanceChapter one will focus on the FDA research and audit results of Albertan electoral finance lawswith respect to the electoral fairness.Chapter Summary: Alberta received an unacceptable failing score of 47.7 percent (out of areasonably attainable 100 percent score) for the fairness of its electoral finance legislation. TheFDA measured deficiency in 52.3 percent of the Alberta legislation. The FDA found electoralfairness in the following: public transparency of electoral finances, caps on contributions tocandidates, parties, and constituency associations, caps on third party spending, and reasonablelegislative process to enforce electoral finance laws. The FDA found electoral unfairness in thefollowing: no candidate and party expenditure limits, caps on contributions to parties that are notreflective of Alberta per capita income and income inequality, and no laws that disallowcorporations and unions from making electoral contributions and spending as third parties. Thelevel and areas of electoral unfairness measured by the FDA suggest that electoral finance reformis necessary in order to encourage an equal candidate and party playing field, a broader and morebalanced electoral discourse, and ultimately a more informed electorate.Introduction:This chapter focuses on the Alberta electoral finance laws and the FDAs audit of them in termsof electoral fairness. Based on the political concepts of egalitarianism and political liberalism,the FDA audit team audits electoral finance laws according to their equity for registeredcandidates and parties, and equity for voters (see Definition of Key Terms and ResearchMethodology for more explanation). Also, based on the concepts of one person, one vote andgovernment of the people, by the people, and for the people, the FDA auditors assume that apeoples representative democracy will disallow corporations and unions from making electoralcontributions and spending as third parties, because corporations and unions are not people. TheFDA does not associate electoral expenditures directly with free speech, nor does the FDAbelieve that freedom alone comprises an optimal peoples representative democracy. The FDAbelieves that freedom must be balanced with equity, so that the most powerful (economically andpolitically) do not dominate and the will of people from districts is reflected in the representativegovernment. The FDA audit team audits from the standpoint of a peoples representativedemocracy.The FDA electoral finance audit focuses on the following sub-sections: 1. electoral finance transparency; 2. contributions to candidates and parties; 3. caps on contributions to candidates and parties; 4. campaign expenditure limits; 5. caps on third party spending; 6. legislative process. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 6
  • 7. The FDA chose these sub-sections because they represent core areas of electoral finance. Basedon the concept of political liberalism (as defined in Research Methodology), electoral financetransparency is weighted the highest due to its importance in preventing corruption and fraud,and informing the public on the sources of candidate and party funds. The FDA audit of electoralfinance includes research of Albertas electoral finance legislation and the application of theresearch to the FDA matrices. Matrix scoring is based on an overall score of 0 to 10 out of 10.What follows are the audits results for each sub-section of Albertas electoral finance legislation.It shows the matrix question, the individual audit scores, and the research findings:Electoral Finance TransparencyAre candidate and party finances transparent to the public? 2.0 out of 2.0 Legislative Process: The Chief Electoral Officer may examine all financial statements and affairs of all political candidates, election campaigns and registered third parties (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 4). All records must be maintained for a period of at least three years (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 10.1). All documents filed with the Chief Electoral Officer are public records and available upon request during normal business hours (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 11). Any campaign funds not used are held in trust, to be used during the next election. These funds may be transferred to the registered party that supported the candidates bid for election in the previous election. If the candidate is not nominated for the following election, he is to transfer these funds to the registered party or candidates that supported his bid in the previous election. If funds cannot be transferred, they are transferred to the Crown (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 12). All contributions must be deposited in the account registered with the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 14). Every candidate, constituency association and political party must have a chief financial officer who is not eligible for election and is appointed prior to the party registering with the Chief Electoral Officer. Contributions may only be accepted by the chief financial officer or another person who is deemed authorized to accept contributions, according to the records of the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 7
  • 8. Disclosure Act, Article 29, 31). A third party must register if it has or plans to incur expenses of $1,000 or more, or makes advertising contributions of $1,000 or more (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 9.1).Contributions to Candidates and PartiesAre contributions restricted to citizens?Are contributions disallowed by foreigners, public institutions, and charities?Are anonymous contributions set at a reasonable level? 0 out of 0.5 0.5 out of 0.5 0.5 out of 0.5 Research Findings: No Party or Candidate may accept contributions unless they are registered. Requirements: must be non-profit, funds must be deposited within a financial institution in a registered account, must file a report of contributions and expenditures at the end of each tax year (before April 1) (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 6). No contributions to registered parties, constituency associations, and candidates from non-Alberta corporations and trade unions, public post-secondary institutions, prohibited corporations, school boards, Métis settlements, municipalities, and provincial corporations (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Definition of prohibited corporation). No contribution of funds may be made if said funds do not belong to the contributor or originate out of province. During a campaign period, a provincial party may accept a maximum $150 per candidate from a registered federal political party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Articles 34, 35, 36). Anonymous contributions are not allowed in excess of $50. Those in excess must be returned to the contributor. If this cannot happen, it must be paid into the general revenue fund through the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 21.1). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 8
  • 9. Caps on Contributions to Candidates and PartiesAre there caps on contributions to candidates and parties?Are the caps on candidates and parties contributions reflective of mean total income?Are there caps on contributions by candidates to their own campaigns?Are the caps on candidates own contributions reflective of mean total income? 0.25 out of 0.25 0.0811 out of 1.0 0.25 out of 0.25 0.5 out of 0.5 Research Findings: Albertas 2009 mean total income is $35,250 (Statistics Canada, 2011). In any year contributions may not exceed $15,000 for a registered party and $1,000 for a registered constituency association (only during a campaign period) and $5,000 in aggregate for registered constituency associations of each registered party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). In any campaign period, contributions may not exceed $30,000 to registered parties less any contributions made that calendar year, and $2,000 to any registered candidates (only during a campaign period) and $10,000 in the aggregate to registered candidates of each registered party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). Contributions to a candidate may only be made during an election period (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). No party or candidate may knowingly accept contributions greater than these limits (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 19). Goods, services or gifts that do not exceed $50 are not considered contributions, and are not to be transferred, but are recorded under the gross amount (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 12). Contributions other than money must be valued at market value at the time of the election (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.31). The unanimous decision of the FDA audit team is that 10% of personal mean income is a reasonable limit to contribute to candidates and parties. 10% of average income is $3,525. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 9
  • 10. The maximum contribution is $40,000. 3525/40000 = .0881 0.0881 out of 1.0 (FDA Audit Team, 2012). Registered candidates own contributions to their own campaigns are subject to the contribution limits to registered candidates ($2,000 limit) (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). Based on the 2009 Alberta mean total income of $35,250 (Statistics Canada, 2011), the FDA auditors think that $2,000 is a reasonable limit on contributions by candidates to their own campaigns. The FDA auditors believe that candidates would likely be more willing to contribute to their own campaigns than to others, and that if candidates did not have personal financial resources to cover the $2,000 limit, they have the opportunity to raise electoral monies through contributions from citizens and corporations and fund raising events. Further, a $2,000 difference in campaign contributions by candidates, for example, will likely not determine the election results for a particular constituency (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Campaign Expenditure LimitsAre there campaign expenditure limits on candidates and parties?Are there public subsidies or other financial instruments for candidates and parties? 0 out of 0.5 0 out of 0.25 Research Findings: There are no electoral expenditure limits on registered candidates and parties (FDA researchers could find no Alberta legislation that placed direct limits on electoral expenditures). In contrast, the Canadian federal electoral system has candidate expenditure limits on each constituency based on location and size of population, and expenditures limits on political parties based on the number of candidates endorsed by each party (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada, Electoral Finance, 2011). FDA researchers could find no legislation on public subsidies, ergo, conclude that there are no provincial subsidies of candidates, parties, or third parties. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 10
  • 11. Caps on Third Party SpendingAre there caps on third party spending?If there is third party spending, is it restricted to citizens only?If there are caps on third party spending, are they attainable, reasonably, by all adult citizens?Are there public subsidies or other financial instruments that create an equal level of third partyspending? 0.25 out of 0.25 0 out of 0.5 0.0294 out of 0.25 0 out of 0.25 Research Findings: Albertas 2009 mean total income is $35,250 (Statistics Canada, 2011). Third party expenditure is limited to $15,000 in one calendar year and $30,000 in year of an election less any expenditure made that year (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.2(3)). Those who may not register as a third party are: individuals that are not permanent residents of Alberta; corporations that do not carry out business in Alberta; registered charities; prohibited corporations; and trade unions or organized labor groups not defined by the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 9.1). No advertising contribution may be made or used unless it is by someone registered as a third party and subject to the same limits (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.2). The FDA assumes that all corporations and unions can afford the $30,000 expenditure. $30,000 limit on third party expenditure in election year. 10% of income equals 3,525. 3525/30000 = .1175 0.1175 out of .25 (max score) = 0.0294 (FDA Audit Team, 2012). There are no provincial subsidies of candidates and parties, and third parties (FDA researchers could find no legislation on public subsidies). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 11
  • 12. Legislative ProcessIs legislative process to enforce the electoral finance laws?Is there an effective legislative process to enforce electoral finance laws? 0.25 out of 0.25 0.15 out of 0.75 Research Findings: Alberta has comprehensive laws and regulations for the enforcement of the Alberta Election Act. There are established fines and persecution through the Provincial Courts that covers both offenses and violations to the Election Act and electoral corruption. However, the Chief Electoral Officer is only person who has the power to proceed with prosecution under the Election Act (Election Act, Articles 154-184). The maximum fine for contraventions for registered parties is $10,000 and $1,000 for registered candidates and constituency associations. The maximum fine for a general offence is $10,000 for corporations and trade unions, and $1,000 for individuals. Maximum fines for third party advertising violations are $10,000 for an individual and $100,000 for corporations and unions. There are no prison sentences for electoral infractions in Alberta. (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Articles 45- 53). Based on low general fines of $10,000 for corporations (except for third party fines), low fines for registered candidates and individuals, and no prison sentences, the FDA auditors determine a 20% score. (The FDA auditors assume that a fine $200,000 and/or 1 or more years imprisonment is effective against corporations, and $5,000 fine and/or 1 or more years imprisonment is effective against individuals). 20% of .75 = .15 The Court may order parties to bear their own costs for an appeal and/or recount. Depending on the situation, costs may be paid by the Crown in right of Alberta (Election Act, Article 148.1). Finances Act does not apply to leadership conventions within political parties (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 2). Finances Act does not apply to leadership conventions within political parties (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 2).Total score for the electoral fairness of electoral finance: 47.7 percent out of 100 percent. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 12
  • 13. Analysis:Alberta received a score of 47.7 percent for the electoral fairness of its electoral financelegislation (see pie below). Based on FDA scoring scales, the score is 2.3 percent below theminimum passing score of 50 percent. This reflects unacceptable scores overall in electoralfinance legislation. Auditors found that public transparency of electoral finances could be acatalyst for reform of others areas of Albertas electoral finance legislation. Barring this potentialfor reform, the FDA found that Alberta has a large area of electoral finance deficiency (52.3percent); illustrated by high caps on contributions to parties and third party spending, nocampaign expenditure limits, and no laws that disallow corporations/unions from contributingand spending as third parties.High caps on contributions and third party spending allow Alberta corporations/unions andwealthy Albertans to disproportionately influence electoral discourse. With no equitablecampaign expenditure limits, candidates and parties have unequal electoral funds, which againcan create an imbalanced electoral discourse, and ultimately impact how Albertans vote. Thereare no measures in the electoral system to create equitable electoral finances for candidates andparties. Consequently, there has been gross electoral finance disparities over the last twoprovincial elections, in which the PC party has had more than double the campaign financescompared to all the other parties combined (Public Interest Alberta; Lisac, 2004). To illustrate, inthe 2008 Alberta general election, the PC Party had 36 percent more political contributions thanall the other parties (seven) combined ($2,285,789 to $1,463,593) (Foundation for DemocraticAdvancement, 2012). The FDA finds this inequitable political environment antagonistic to abroad and balanced electoral discourse and informed electorate.Further, with no campaign expenditure limits, the FDA argues that the Alberta electoral system isrewarding candidates and parties who can raise the most money and have the ability to raisefunds. The FDA believes that fund-raising and the ability to raise funds are not necessarily anindication of popular support; rather, they are an indication of voter influence. This is likelylinked to high income inequality, and is therefore skewed to the wealthier segments of society.Moreover, larger, more established political parties, due to their experience, network, andresources, have an advantage over small and new parties in fund-raising.The FDA believes that the following reforms will create a political environment based on issuesand backgrounds rather than financial interests and fund-raising capabilities: reasonablyattainable caps on contributions to parties, no corporation/union contributions or third partyspending, and a reasonably attainable expenditure limit on campaign finances. To argue thatcontributions and third party spending should not be restricted because they are an extension offreedom of speech and popular support (see US Supreme Court, Citizens United v. FederalElection Commission, January 21, 2010), begs the question as to why they are needed, if thepopular support is determined by the electorate on Election Day? The FDA argues that equatingspeech with electoral spending assumes erroneously that fund raising is necessarily linked topopular support. Further, unlimited freedom to contribute and spend electorally may limit the Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 13
  • 14. freedom of speech of others who are not able to contribute and spend, thereby their voice may beovershadowed, for example, by the voice of powerful money interests. The pie illustrates the level of fairness of the Alberta legislation on electoral finance. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 14
  • 15. Chapter Two: Political Content of MediaChapter two will focus on the FDA research and audit results of Albertan laws on politicalcontent of media and with respect to electoral fairness.Chapter Summary: Alberta received a score of 45 percent for the electoral fairness of its medialaws. The score means that 55 percent of Albertas media laws are unsatisfactory. The FDA foundelectoral fairness in the following areas: legislative freedom of media, and disclosurerequirements on electoral surveys/polls. The FDA found electoral unfairness in the followingareas: no requirement for impartial and balanced political coverage before and during thecampaign period, and no media ownership concentration laws or equivalent. The level and areasof electoral unfairness measured by the FDA suggest that media reform is necessary in order toencourage a broad and balanced electoral discourse, an equal playing field for candidates andparties, and ultimately a more informed electorate. The FDA argues that Albertas medialegislation deficiencies result from a disparity between media freedom and political equality.Introduction:This chapter focuses on Albertas media laws and the FDAs audit of them. Based on the conceptsof egalitarianism and political liberalism, the FDA audit team examines media laws according tothe standard of impartial and balanced political coverage before, during and after a campaignperiod (see Definition of Key Terms and Research Methodology for further explanation). Basedon the concepts of one person, one vote and government of the people, by the people, and forthe people, the FDA assumes that impartial and balanced political coverage by media supportsdemocracy by promoting a broad and balanced electoral discourse and a more informedelectorate. The FDA demands balance between media freedom and equity of media coverage sothat the most powerful media and government players do not dominate electoral discourse.The FDAs media legislation audit focuses on the following sub-sections: 1. impartial and balanced political coverage; 2. media ownership concentration laws; 3. surveys/polls; 4. freedom of media; 5. press code of practice/conduct.The FDA chose these sub-sections because they represent core areas of the political content ofmedia. Based on the concept of political liberalism and the importance of freedom of expressionin a democracy, freedom of media is weighted the highest of the five sub-sections. The FDAsaudit of media includes research of Albertas media legislation and then application of theresearch to the FDA matrices. The matrix scoring is based on an overall score of 0 to 10 out of10. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 15
  • 16. What follows are the audit results for each sub-section of Albertas media legislation. It showsthe matrix question, the individual audit scores, and the research findings:Impartial and Balanced Political CoverageDuring the campaign period, is the media (private and public) required legally topublish/broadcast impartial/balanced coverage of registered candidates and parties? 0 out of 2Outside of the campaign period is the media required legally to publish/broadcastpluralistic/balanced coverage of registered parties? 0 out of 1 Research Findings: There is no provincial requirements that radio and television broadcasters have to be non- partisan and balanced in their electoral coverage (1986 Radio Regulations, Article 6; 1987 Television Broadcasting Regulations). Alberta press is guided by freedom of the press and a non-enforceable Code of Practice through the Alberta Press Council (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Alberta Press Council, Code of Practice).Media Ownership Concentration LawsAre there media ownership concentration laws? 0 out of .5If there is no requirement legally of media plurality, impartiality, and balanced content or mediaownership concentration laws, are there any other laws that are effective in causing a plurality ofpolitical discourse before and during an election period? 0 out of 1 Research Findings: Alberta has no media concentrations laws, which would support plurality of electoral discourse. FDA researchers could find no media concentration laws. (In Norway, France, and Bolivia, there are media ownership concentrations laws which support the plurality of electoral discourse (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Reports on Norway, France, and Bolivia, 2011).) Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 16
  • 17. Surveys/PollsAre there reasonable public disclosure requirements on surveys and polls in terms of theirmethodology, data, and funder? .5 out of .5 Research Findings: Election surveys must include information regarding: who sponsored the survey, who conducted the survey, the date it was conducted, the population that the sample was drawn from, the number of people polled, and the margin of error (Election Act, Article 135.2). If recognized statistical methods are not employed in a survey, this must be made clear (Election Act, Article 135.3). No new election survey results that have not been already released may be released during the blackout period 24 hours before the election (Election Act, Article 135.4). (In Bolivia, election propaganda including polls and surveys are not allowed 48 hours prior to the Election Day (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Bolivia, 2011). In France, there is no commercial political advertisement 3 months prior to an election period; election propaganda during a campaign period must allow candidates adequate time to respond (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on France, 2011). In Egypt (under Mubarak), polls and surveys are not allowed 7 days prior to the Election Day (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Egypt, 2011). Survey results previously released to the public prior to the ‘blackout period’ can be transmitted again to the public (Election Act, Article 135.4).Freedom of the MediaIs the freedom of the media (including journalists) established through constitutional orlegislative law? 4 out of 4 Research Findings: Television broadcast licensees may not broadcast anything which contravenes the law or exposes anyone to discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, or disability. They also may not broadcast anything false or misleading (1987 Television Broadcasting Regulations, Article 5). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 17
  • 18. Radio broadcasters must maintain a program log for one year, which will contain content and subject information for each program or advertisement aired. This log must be made available to a commission if requested (1986 Radio Regulations, Article 8). There is freedom of the Alberta press, radio, and broadcasters (Canadian Charter on Rights and Freedoms). There are no legislative restrictions on the journalistic profession in caring out their work The FDA could find no legislative provisions that guarantee the access of journalists to government sources, representatives, or officials.Press Code of Practice/ConductDoes a Code of Practice/Conduct that supports impartial, balanced electoral coverage guide thepress? 0 out of .25 Research Findings: Alberta press is guided by freedom of the press and a non-enforceable Code of Practice through the Alberta Press Council (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Alberta Press Council, Code of Practice). There are no provisions in the Alberta Press Council’s Code of Practice that require non- partisan and balanced electoral coverage (Alberta Press Council, Code of Practice). The Alberta Press Council’s Code of Practice has provisions for a right of reply, but the Code is not enforced by the Council. Council does not monitor press companies, assumes they have their own codes of practice, and does not tell them what to publish (Alberta Press Council, about page on website). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 18
  • 19. Analysis:Based on the FDA scoring scales, Alberta scored 45 percent for the political content of media, 5percent below the minimum passing score of 50 percent. The score reflects more electoralunfairness than electoral fairness in the political content on media. The results demonstrate alarge area that could compromise Alberta’s election results in the coming election.Based on legislated freedom of the media and disclosure requirements on survey/polls, the FDAscored 45 percent electoral fairness in media legislation. FDA matrices weigh freedom ofexpression the highest due to its relevance to democracy. In the media section, freedom of themedia represents 40 percent of the total score and Alberta received full percentage points in thisarea. However, FDA Freedom and Democracy podcasts (2011) revealed that freedom alonecannot guarantee democracy. Without monitors to ensure equality, freedom of the media willallow the most powerful and wealthy individuals and organizations to dominate the politicalprocess. The FDA concludes that Alberta does not monitor freedom of the media in order toguarantee equality.There is no legislative requirement in Alberta for impartial, balanced or pluralistic politicalmedia coverage. There are no media concentration laws or equivalent to encourage a pluralisticmedia and prevent significant concentration of media ownership. There are no public subsidymeasures to help encourage balanced campaign coverage, and ultimately, balanced electoraldiscourse. The Alberta Press Councils Code of Practice does not mandate impartial/balancedpolitical or campaign coverage. These findings suggest that Albertas media is susceptible topartisan, imbalanced political and campaign coverage, and limited coverage from few sources. Amedia network with significant ownership rights in television, radio, and the press coulddominate the Alberta electoral discourse, just as a media ownership oligopoly with similarviewpoints could do likewise. Alberta legislation allows for this possibility, as demonstrated inthe 2004 Alberta Provincial Election. Election coverage mentioned the the ProgressiveConservatives 58% of the time, the Liberals 16% of the time, and the NDP only 12% of the time(Wesley and Colborne, 2005).The FDA argues that an electorate that is informed in the platforms of all relevant politicalparties will greatly impact the outcome of the election. It is essential for Albertas democracy tohave, at minimum, balanced and pluralistic campaign coverage. There are public policy optionsavailable; as illustrated by media ownership concentration laws in Norway, France, and Bolivia,or legal requirements for fair and balanced political coverage and public measures to ensure fairand balanced campaign coverage in Venezuela (FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Reports onNorway, France, Bolivia, and Venezuela, 2011). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 19
  • 20. The pie illustrates the level of fairness of the Alberta legislation on political content of media.Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 20
  • 21. Chapter Three: Candidate and Party InfluenceChapter three will focus on the FDA research and audit results of Albertan laws on candidateand party influence and with respect to the electoral fairness.Chapter Summary: Alberta received a score of 51 percent for the electoral fairness of itslegislation on candidate and party influence. The score indicates that Albertas laws on candidateand party influence scored slightly higher than satisfactory in areas overall. The FDA foundelectoral fairness in the following areas: reasonable length of the campaign period, reasonableand fair process to determine electoral boundaries, reasonable registration requirements ofcandidates and parties, electoral complaints process for candidates and parties, fair presentationof candidates on ballots, scrutineers at polling stations, disclosure requirements on surveys/polls,legislated freedom of speech and assembly, public transparency of electoral finances, caps oncontributions to candidates, parties, and constituency associations, caps on third party electoralspending, reasonable legislative process to enforce the Election Act, and reasonable votingprocedures including voter assistance, protection, and registration requirements. The FDA foundelectoral unfairness in the following areas: no candidate and party expenditure limits, caps oncontributions to parties that are not reflective of Alberta per capita income and income inequalitydata, no laws that disallow corporations/unions from making electoral contributions andspending as third parties, no proportional representation, and a less reasonable governmentprocess. The FDA argues that these areas of electoral unfairness may allow some parties anunfair financial advantage over other parties through their access to wealthy segments of Albertasociety and/or their ability to raise funds. The FDA believes that in the areas of electoralunfairness, reform is necessary in order to encourage equal levels of candidate and partyinfluence, broad and balanced electoral discourse, and an informed electorate.IntroductionThis chapter focuses on Alberta laws pertaining to candidate and party influence. Based onconcepts of egalitarianism and political liberalism, the FDA audit team examines election lawsaccording to their equity for registered candidates and parties (see Definition of Key Terms andResearch Methodology for further explanation). Based on the concepts of one person, one voteand government of the people, by the people, and for the people, the FDA auditors assume that arepresentative democracy supports equitable treatment of candidates and parties. The FDAargues that political freedom alone does not guarantee a democratic process, but that democracyalso requires political equality.The FDAs candidate and party influence audit focuses on the following sub-sections notincluding relevant sub-sections from other audit sections: 1. Campaign period; 2. methodology for determining winners of districts; 3. electoral boundaries; Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 21
  • 22. 4. process of government; 5. registration of candidates; 6. registration of parties; 7. electoral complaints; 8. electoral lists and ballots; 9. scrutineers; 10. candidates and party campaign advertisements.The FDA chose the sub-sections above and relevant sub-sections from other sections becausethey represent core areas of candidate and party influence. Based on the concepts ofegalitarianism and political liberalism (as defined in Research Methodology), freedom of speechand assembly, electoral finance transparency, and process of government have the highestweight. The FDA audit of candidate and party influence includes research of Albertas legislationpertaining to candidate and party influence and then application of the research to the FDAmatrices. Matrix scoring is based on an overall score from 0 to 10 out of 10.What follows are the audit results for each sub-section of Albertas candidate and partylegislation. It shows the matrix question, the individual audit scores, and the research findings:Campaign PeriodDoes the length of the campaign period allow reasonably and fairly all registered candidates andparties enough time to share their backgrounds and policies with the voting public? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: The election campaign period is 28 days (Election Act, Article 38.1 (2) and 39). The longer the campaign, the more electoral finances are required, and therefore, the longer campaign favors larger, more established parties over smaller and new parties (FDA audit team, 2012). Based on the rationalization that this is a provincial election and with a provincial population of 3,584,304 (per municpalaffairs.gov.ab.ca), 28 days is a reasonable time frame for all parties to express to the public their platform and ideologies (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Methodology for Determining Winners of DistrictsIs the determination of election winners based on first-past-the-post? 0 out of 0 Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 22
  • 23. Research Findings: The elections of provincial constituency seats are based on first-past-the-post. The Alberta electoral system is devoid of proportional representation (Election Act, Article 138). First-past-the-post election methods determine the outcome of Alberta elections as stated in the Election Act. First-past-the-post is deficient as compared to proportional based systems in capturing the popular vote. The matrix score for first-past-the-post is 0. This matrix sub-section does not evaluate the merits of coalition governments versus non- coalition governments or minority governments versus majority governments (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Electoral BoundariesIs the process for determining electoral boundaries reasonable and fair for all registeredcandidates and parties? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: Alberta electoral districts are divided by law into 87 electoral divisions with a population within 25 percent of the provincial population average and not below 25 percent the average population excerpt under special considerations. The Alberta Legislature determines the electoral boundaries within the parameters of Alberta law, and the Canadian Charter on Rights and Freedoms. Citizen recourse against the Alberta Legislature in cases of unreasonable electoral divisions that favor a particular political party is to file a lawsuit and publicly expression their views (Electoral Boundaries Commission Act; Proposed Electoral Division Areas, Boundaries, and Names for Alberta, Interim Report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Introduction, The Law).Process of GovernmentWithin the structure of government do political representatives individually and as governmentbodies have reasonable say in the formation of government policy, legislation etc.,? .125 out of 1 Research Findings: The Alberta government is comprised of a legislative assembly and no senate Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 23
  • 24. (unicameral). The legislative assembly is made up elected officials. The leader of the party with the most seats in the assembly is the Premier. All provincial legislation must be approved by the Lieutenant Governor, Alberta’s representative of the Queen. Major decisions are made by Alberta cabinet, which is chaired by the Premier and comprised of MLAs from the political party with the majority of seats in Assembly. For bills to pass they need at least simple majority of the Assembly. Bills that have the support of the Alberta cabinet likely pass, while bills that do not have support of the Cabinet likely do not pass (Service Alberta, Structure of Government; Legislative Assembly Act, Article 7 Bills and Acts; The Citizen’s Guide to Alberta Legislature, Powers of Government and Making Law). Based on the rationalization that the process is currently monopolized by the winning party with as little as 12.5% of popular support, the FDA thinks a fair process would ensure that the dominant party have obtained at least 50% plus one vote of the popular vote, if not, then “another process of government should be proposed”, is reasonable. Another process of government would ensure that the will of the people, as reflected in the electoral vote, is reflective by the distribution of political power in the Legislative Assembly. In the 2012 Alberta provincial election, there are 8 registered parties, and based on this, a minimum win and control of the Alberta Legislature is 12.5% of the Alberta popular vote. The score 1 times 12.5% equals 0.125 (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Registration of CandidatesAre the registration requirements of candidates reasonable and based on reasonable popularsupport rather than finances? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: A candidate must necessarily be: a Canadian citizen; 18 years old; a resident of Alberta for six months continuously up to polling day; registered under section 9 of the Election Finances Act; and nominated by 25 or more electors. Candidates must not be: a prison inmate; or a member of the senate or House of Commons (Election Act, Article 56; Alberta Election Act, Article 59). Candidates must be nominated to be on the electoral lists. Candidates need at least 25 signed support by eligible electors in the electoral division and make a deposit of $500 (Election Act, Articles 56-61). The FDA auditors think that the registration of candidates are reasonable. As with the Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 24
  • 25. registration with parties, the FDA thinks that there should be a reasonable democratic barrier of entry for candidates and parties. The requirement of popular support of 25 or more electors is more than reasonable and if anything low. The FDA does not support money as a registration requirement because it is not necessarily reflective of popular support. Yet, candidates are required to make a $500 deposit. The FDA accepts this deposit as reasonable on grounds that it is at a modest level, and it makes up for the support of just 25 electors (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Registration of PartiesAre the registration requirements of parties reasonable and based on reasonable popular supportrather than finances? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: For political parties to be registered, they need a party name approved by the Chief Electoral Officer and have signatures of support from at least 0.3 percent of the number of electors eligible to vote at the last general election or by having endorsed candidates for at least half of the electoral division in the province at an upcoming general election (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article; Elections Alberta). Parties must be registered with the Chief Electoral Officer. The Chief Electoral Officer may not register the party if the name of the party is likely to be confused with another or a former party, or name or abbreviation is unacceptable to the officer for “any reason” (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 7). The registration of Alberta parties are based on either 0.3 percent popular voter support or having endorsed candidates in half of the Alberta electoral divisions. There is no financial component to registering a party. The FDA thinks that a democratic barrier of entry for parties is important to keep out less serious parties and parties with minimal popular support. The barriers of 0.3 percent of popular support or having at least endorsed candidates in 50 percent of the districts are fair and democratic barrier to entries. Venezuela for example has a barrier of entry for parties of 0.5 percent popular support, and the FDA supports this as a reasonable democratic barrier. The barrier has to be reasonably high to prevent less serious and unpopular parties, and yet at the same time not too high to prevent, for example, new emerging popular parties. Total population of Alberta: 3,584,304 0.3% of Alberta population equals 10,753. Total eligible voters in the 2008 Alberta provincial election: 2,252,104 Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 25
  • 26. 0.3% of eligible voters equals 6,756 number of required support. Or per the law requiring endorsed candidates at least half of the electoral divisions, equates to, in terms of registration cost, 42 candidates out of 87 possible candidates (87 total electoral districts) times $500 per candidate equals $22,000 (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Electoral ComplaintsDo candidates and parties have mechanisms in which to file complaints for electoralwrongdoing/fraud? .2 out of .2Are there reasonable mechanisms to enforce candidate and party electoral complaints? .05 out of .1 Research Findings: An application may be submitted for a judicial recount of the ballots. There are only two qualifying bases for this request: ballots were incorrectly rejected or not counted, or the certificate of return does not reflect the number of votes for that candidate (Election Act, Article 144). A judge of the Court of the Queen’s Bench gives the results of a recount (Election Act, Article 147). If the results are not accepted after a recount, a decision by a judge of the Court of the Queens Bench may be appealed. The court may order the parties to bear their own costs for the appeal and/or recount. Depending on the situation, costs may be paid by the Crown in Right of Alberta (Election Act, Articles 148, 148.1). Candidate has the right to inspect all election documents, with the exception of the ballots, up to 30 days following the election (Election Act, Article 152). Chief Electoral Officer oversees the election and may conduct an investigation (Election Act, Article 4.2). Candidates and parties have a right to make a legal petition against the election results or the election of a specific candidate. The petition may be filed with a Alberta judiciary centre within 30 days after election results are deemed published or if the matter pertains to eligibility of the candidate’s nomination any time during the continuation of the Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 26
  • 27. Legislative Assembly. The petitioner must make a $1,000 deposit to cover fees of the respondent. Also, there is an appeals process for petitions (Election Act, Articles 185- 201). There is no process for candidates and parties to file electoral complaints during the election period (FDA researchers could no find process in Alberta Election Act). There is a comprehensive electoral complaints process for candidates and parties. However, the complaints process is focused on after the election. The FDA believes that the complaints process should occur during the election as well to help protect the integrity of the actual vote, and protect candidates and parties from unlawful electoral acts. Bolivias complaints process includes both before and after an election. However, the FDA acknowledges that a complaints process before an election needs to have safeguards against frivolous electoral complaints (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Electoral Lists and BallotsAre electoral lists presented on ballots in a fair, equitable way for all registered candidates andparties? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Names of candidates are printed in size 10 font including their given name, middle name, initials or nickname or any combination of them. Names are listed in alphabetical order based on surname (Election Act, Article 79).ScrutineersAre candidates and parties allowed scrutineers at polling stations? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Candidates may appoint up to four scrutineers to represent the candidate at each polling station or observe the election on the candidates’ behalf (Election Act, Article 79). The following may not be involved with the counting of ballots: individual who are not qualified to vote; individuals who have been convicted of an indictable offense warranting a punishment of greater than 2 years imprisonment in the previous 10 years; candidates; official agents; members of parliament; members of the legislative assembly; and judges (Election Act, Articles 24, 29). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 27
  • 28. Candidate and Party AdvertisementDuring the campaign period, do candidates and parties have equal access to radio, television, andprint media for political advertisement, and equal cost of political advertisement? .1 out of .2During the campaign period do candidates and parties political advertisements in media includea public subsidy component to ensure an equality of political advertisement in the media? 0 out of .2Outside of the campaign period, do candidates and parties have equal to radio, television, andprint media for political advertisement, and equal cost of political advertisement? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: Posters are not allowed to be displayed or distributed at polling stations or in the building containing the polling station. If posters are present, a returning officer may cause it to be removed, and is not liable for damage caused by the removal (Election Act, Article 135). No landlord or person acting on the landlords’ behalf may prohibit a tenant from displaying election posters on the premises of his or her unit (Election Act, Article 135.5). During an election, radio and television broadcasters will provide time for programs, advertisements or announcements of a partisan political nature, equitably for all accredited political parties and candidates represented in the election (1986 Radio Regulations, Article 6; 1987 Television Broadcasting Regulations, Article 8). There are no provisions for equitable time for election propaganda outside of the 30 day election period (1986 Radio Regulations; 1987 Television Broadcasting Regulations). Although Alberta has measures for equitable media access for electoral advertisement for all parties during the campaign period, there are no measures for equitable cost of electoral advertisements nor any public subsidies for electoral advertisement. Further, outside the campaign period, there are no measures for equitable access to media for political advertisements or equitable cost of political advertisements. The score of .1 out of .2 reflects the equitable access and yet no measures for equitable cost of electoral advertisements (FDA Audit Team, 2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 28
  • 29. Impartial and Balanced Political CoverageDuring the campaign period is the media (private and public) required legally topublish/broadcast impartial/balanced coverage of registered candidates and parties? 0 out of .5Outside of the campaign period is the media required legally to publish/broadcastpluralistic/balanced coverage of registered parties? 0 out of .5 Research Findings: There are no provincial requirements that radio and television broadcasters have to be non-partisan and balanced in their electoral coverage (1986 Radio Regulations, Article 6; 1987 Television Broadcasting Regulations). Alberta press is guided by freedom of the press and a non-enforceable Code of Practice through the Alberta Press Council (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Alberta Press Council, Code of Practice).Media Ownership Concentration LawsAre there media ownership concentration laws? 0 out of .1If there are no requirements legally of media plurality, impartiality, and balanced content ormedia ownership concentration laws, are there any other laws/regulations which are effective incausing a plurality of political discourse before and during an election period? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: The FDA maintains that media concentrations laws support plurality in electoral discourse; however, FDA researchers could find no media concentration laws in Alberta. (In Norway, France, and Bolivia, there are media ownership concentrations laws that support the plurality of electoral discourse FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Reports on Norway, France, and Bolivia, 2011).) Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 29
  • 30. Surveys/PollsAre there reasonable public disclosure requirements on surveys and polls in terms of theirmethodology, data, and funder? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Election surveys must include information regarding: who sponsored the survey, who conducted the survey, the date it was conducted, the population that the sample was drawn from, the number of people polled, and the margin of error (Election Act, Article 135.2). If recognized statistical methods are not employed in a survey, this must be made clear (Election Act, Article 135.3). No new election survey results that have not been already released may be released during the blackout period 24 hours before the election (Election Act, Article 135.4). (In Bolivia, election propaganda including polls and surveys are not allowed 48 hours prior to the Election Day (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Bolivia, 2011)). In France, there is no commercial political advertisement 3 months prior to an election period; election propaganda during a campaign period must allow candidates adequate time to respond (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on France, 2011). In Egypt (under Mubarak), polls and surveys are not allowed 7 days prior to the Election Day (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Egypt, 2011). Survey results previously released to the public prior to the ‘blackout period’ can be transmitted again to the public (Election Act, Article 135.4).Freedom of Speech and AssemblyIs the freedom of speech and assembly established through constitutional or legislative law? 1 out of 1 Research Findings: Citizens have freedom of expression and assembly before, during, and after the election campaign period (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 30
  • 31. Electoral Finance TransparencyAre candidate and party finances transparent to the public? 1 out of 1 Legislative Process: The Chief Electoral Officer may examine all financial statements and affairs of all political candidates, election campaigns and registered third parties (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 4). All records must be maintained for a period of at least three years (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 10.1). All documents filed with the Chief Electoral Officer are public records and available upon request during normal business hours (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 11). Any campaign funds not used are held in trust, to be used during the next election. These funds may be transferred to the registered party that supported the candidates bid for election in the previous election. If the candidate is not nominated for the following election, he is to transfer these funds to the registered party or candidates that supported his bid in the previous election. If funds cannot be transferred, they are transferred to the Crown (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 12). All contributions must be deposited in the account registered with the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 14). Every candidate, constituency association and political party must have a chief financial officer who is not eligible for election and is appointed prior to the party registering with the Chief Electoral Officer. Contributions may only be accepted by the chief financial officer or another person who is deemed authorized to accept contributions, according to the records of the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 29, 31). A third party must register if it has or plans to incur expenses of $1,000 or more, or makes advertising contributions of $1,000 or more (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 9.1). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 31
  • 32. Contributions to Candidates and PartiesAre electoral contributions restricted to citizens? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: Albertan citizens, corporations, and unions can make electoral contributions to candidates and parties (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Are electoral contributions disallowed by foreigners, public institutions, and charities? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: No contributions to registered parties, constituency associations, and candidates from non-Alberta corporations and trade unions, public post-secondary institutions, prohibited corporations, school boards, Metis settlements, municipalities, and provincial corporations (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Definition of prohibited corporation). No contribution of funds may be made if said funds do not belong to the contributor or originate out of province. During a campaign period, a provincial party may accept a maximum $150 per candidate from a registered federal political party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Articles 34, 35, 36).Are anonymous electoral contributions set at a reasonable level? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Anonymous contributions are not allowed in excess of $50. Those in excess must be returned to the contributor. If this cannot happen, it must be paid into the general revenue fund through the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 21.1). Based on the 2010 Alberta per capita income of $70,826 and in 2008, the bottom 32.4% of Albertans earned between $0 and $39,999, the FDA auditors find that $50.00 as a limit on anonymous contributions is more than reasonable (FDA Audit Team, 2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 32
  • 33. Caps on Contributions to Candidates and PartiesAre there caps on contributions to candidates and parties? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: “In any year” contributions may not exceed $15,000 for a registered party and $1,000 for a registered constituency association (only during a campaign period) and $5,000 in aggregate for registered constituency associations of each registered party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). “In any campaign period”, contributions may not exceed $30,000 to registered parties less any contributions made that calendar year, and $2,000 to any registered candidates (only during a campaign period) and $10,000 in the aggregate to registered candidates of each registered party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). Contributions to a candidate may only be made during an election period (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). No party or candidate may knowingly accept contributions greater than these limits (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 19). Goods, services or gifts that do not exceed $50 are not considered contributions, and are not to be transferred, but are recorded under the gross amount (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 12). Contributions other than money must be valued at market value at the time of the election (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.31).Are the caps on candidates and parties contributions reflective of per capita income levels andincome inequality data? .047 out of .2 Research Findings: Based on the rationalization that 57.9% of Albertans (greater than the majority) makes below $80,000 per capita income (Statistics Canada, 2009, 2011), a great majority of Albertans do not have an equal opportunity to be involved in a fair democratic process. The FDA’s rationale is that considering the per capita income in Alberta and the statistics regarding the income disparity, it is reasonable to state that the $30,000 cap is high. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 33
  • 34. Since average Alberta income in 2010 is: $70,826 (Statistics Canada, 2011). With the rationalization that 10% of personal income can be used to contribute to candidates and parties (based on the unanimous decision of the FDA audit team). 10% of average income is $7,082.60 For a $30,000 contribution cap, the percentage of Albertans that can afford this is 23.6% of the population. 76.4% of the Alberta population cannot afford the $30,000 cap. 23.6% of .2 equals .047 (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Are there caps on contributions by candidates to their own campaigns? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Registered candidates own contributions to their own campaigns are subject to the contribution limits to registered candidates ($2,000 limit) (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17).Are the caps on candidates own contributions reflective of per capita income level and .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Based on the 2010 Alberta per capita income of $70,826 and in 2008, the bottom 32.4% of Albertans earned between $0 and $39,999 (Statistics Canada 2009 and 2011), the FDA auditors think that $2,000 is a reasonable limit on contributions by candidates to their own campaigns. The FDA auditors acknowledge that candidates would likely be more willing to contribute to their own campaigns than otherwise, and that if candidates did not have personal financial resources to cover the $2,000 limit, they have the opportunity to raise electoral monies through contributions from citizens and corporations and fund raising events. Further, a $2,000 difference in campaign contributions by candidates, for example, will likely not determine the election results for a particular constituency (FDA Audit Team, 2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 34
  • 35. Campaign ExpenditureAre there campaign expenditure limits on candidates and parties? 0 out of .1 Research Findings: There are no electoral expenditure limits on registered candidates and parties. FDA researchers could find no Alberta legislation that placed direct limits on electoral expenditures. (In contrast, the Canadian federal electoral system has candidate expenditure limits on each constituency based on location and size of population, and expenditures limits on political parties based on the number of candidates endorsed by each party (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada, Electoral Finance, 2011).)Are there public subsidies or other financial instruments for candidates and parties? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: FDA researchers could find no legislation on public subsidies, ergo; it concludes that there are no provincial subsidies of candidates and parties, and third parties.Caps on Third-party SpendingAre there caps on third party spending? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Third party expenditure is limited to $15,000 in one calendar year and $30,000 in year of an election less any expenditure made that year (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.2(3)).If there is third party spending, is it restricted to citizens only? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: Those who may not register as a third party are: individuals that are not permanent residents of Alberta; corporations which do not carry out business in Alberta; registered Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 35
  • 36. charities; prohibited corporations; and trade unions or organized labor groups not defined by the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 9.1). No advertising contribution may be made or used unless it is by someone registered as a third party and subject to the same limits (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.2).If there are caps on third party spending, are they attainable, reasonably, by all adult citizens? 0 out of .1 Research Findings: Based on the rationalization that corporations should have an equal vote as citizens, and individuals make much less than corporations and unions, this is stating that an individual has a similar vote to those of corporations and unions. This is untrue based on the fact that corporations and unions make substantially more money than individuals and only individuals are allowed to vote. Having a cap for individuals, corporations, and unions is unfair, especially to the 57.9% of Albertans making less than $80,000 per year. The FDA assumes that all corporations and unions can afford $30,000 electoral expenditure. Based on previous results, only 23.6% of Albertan individuals can afford $30,000 (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Are there public subsidies or other financial instruments that create an equal level of third partyspending? 0 out of .1 Research Findings: FDA researchers could find no legislation on public subsidies; ergo, it concludes there are no provincial subsidies of candidates and parties, and third parties.Legislative ProcessIs there a reasonable legislative process to enforce electoral laws? .5 out of .5 Research Findings: It is a corrupt practice to offer money, an office, any gift of valuable consideration, Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 36
  • 37. employment, or a loan of any kind in exchange for a vote or promise of a vote, or as a reward for declining to vote (Election Act, Article 172). Court may order the parties to bear their own costs for the appeal and/or recount. Depending on the situation, costs may be paid by the Crown in right of Alberta (Election Act, Article 148.1). Finances Act does not apply to leadership conventions within political parties (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 2). Alberta has comprehensive laws and regulations on the enforcement of the Alberta Election Act. There are established fines and persecution through the Provincial Courts. The enforcement covers the offenses/violations to the Election Act and electoral corruption. However, the Chief Electoral Officer is only person who has the power to proceed with prosecution under the Election Act (Election Act, Articles 154-184).Voter Registration RequirementsAre the voter registration requirements reasonable? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Voters must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years of age, a resident of Alberta for at least 6 months as a date fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer, and ordinarily a resident in the electoral division and subdivision for which the name of the person will be included on the list of electors (Election Act, Article 16).Voter ProtectionAre there reasonable processes that protect voters in carrying the act of voting? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Polling booths must be arranged in such a way that the voter is screened from observation (Election Act, Article 91). All election officials must take an oath of secrecy and aid in maintaining the secrecy of voting. Any breach of secrecy must be reported to the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Act, Article 93). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 37
  • 38. Electoral officers have the authority of a justice of the peace and are responsible for maintaining peace and order at the polling stations. They may request assistance of peace officers or any persons present to aid in maintaining peace and order (Election Act, Article 94). Immediately after a vote is cast, a record is made beside that voters name indicating that he has placed his vote (Election Act, Article 103). No one shall interfere or attempt to interfere with a voter or a voters ballot, attempt to prevent a person from voting, attempt to obtain information regarding who a voter voted for while at a polling place, or enter the voters booth while a voter is marking his ballot (Election Act, Articles 105-106). You may not attempt to remove your ballot or anyone else’s ballot from a polling place. The punishment for doing so is to forfeit the right to vote in the election (Election Act, Article 107). If an individual returns their ballot indicating that they do not wish to mark it, they have forfeited their right to vote in the election. Their ballot will be marked “declined” by the deputy returning officer, and the individual will leave the polling place (Election Act, Article 107.1).Voter AssistanceAre there reasonable processes to assist voters with the act of voting? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: An interpreter may be provided by the returning officer if voter does not speak or understand English to translate and/or answer questions about voting procedure (Election Act, Article 78). Polling stations are open from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on both the advanced poll and on the polling day (Election Act, Article 88). Deputy returning officer must assist a voter who due to physical incapacity or inability to read requests assistance. The officer may mark the voter’s ballot but only in the presence of a poll clerk. If the voter is blind and does not wish to be assisted, a blind voter template will be provided with instruction regarding its use. Also, if the voter is accompanied by a friend, the friend may assist the voter by marking the voter’s ballot. The voter and friend will be required to take an oath before voting, and officer will record the type of assistance required, whether by friend or template (Election Act, Article 96). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 38
  • 39. Provided a treatment centre or supportive living facility houses at least 10 eligible voters, it must be contacted by a returning officer to decide whether a mobile polling station will be provided to the facility. If a mobile poll is to be provided, the number of said polls, their format, and fixed hours for their operation must be established. A deputy returning officer and poll clerk must be employed for each poll (Election Act, Article 120).Citizens Living AbroadAre there reasonable processes which allow citizens living abroad to vote? .05 out of .1 Research Findings: Citizens who live abroad may vote by special ballot (Election Act, Article 116). Albertans living abroad temporarily can vote via special ballot. Albertans who live abroad and are not ordinarily a resident in an electoral division cannot vote. The score of .1 out of .2 reflects the fact that Albertans living abroad on a permanent or semi-permanent basis are not entitled to vote. The FDA supports the right of voting for Albertans who live abroad (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Inclusion of MinoritiesAre there reasonable measures that support the political representation of minorities anddisadvantaged groups of people? .08 out of .1 Research Findings: There are no laws and regulations that guarantees or supports political representation of minorities in the Legislative Assembly (FDA Researchers, 2012). Based on the rationalizations that Alberta has gone through a significant progressive history of their democratic processes, that there is significant ethnic diversity within the province, every adult citizen has the right to form a party, and all other points we have made such as about the process of government, special balloting, and no serious contending minorities and measures to allow them to vote, there is still no process for ensuring that minorities have political representation in the Alberta Assembly. As a result, the FDA audit team determined a score .08 (FDA Audit Team, 2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 39
  • 40. Total score for the electoral fairness of candidate and party influence: 51 percent out of 100percent.Analysis:Alberta received a score of 51 percent for candidate and party influence. Based on the FDAscoring scales, the score is 1 percent above the minimum passing score of 50 percent. Resultsindicate that Albertas legislation on candidate and party influence scored slightly abovesatisfactory in areas overall. The FDA found electoral fairness in the following areas: reasonablecandidate, party, and voter registrations requirements, fairness of electoral boundaries, allowancefor scrutineers, reasonable voter protection and measures, and freedom of speech and assembly.The FDA found electoral unfairness in the following areas: no candidate and party campaignexpenditure limits, no legal requirement on the media for impartial and balanced electoralcoverage, weak process of government which allows monopolization by the Alberta cabinet, noproportional representation, no media ownership concentration laws, high cap on contributions toparties, and no laws which disallow corporations/unions from contributing to candidates andparties and spending as third parties. As in the previous sections, the FDA measured a large zoneof unfairness that may allow some candidates and parties to have significant campaignadvantages over other candidates and parties.As mentioned in the Definition of Key Terms, impartiality, balance, and equity define electoralfairness. When looking at legislation, FDA auditors need to determine its equity in relation to allregistered candidates and parties. This is not a straightforward requirement. For example,although Albertas high cap on contributions applies to all candidates and parties, a high cap willlikely favor those who have connections to wealthy segments of Alberta society, and who havean ability to raise more funds. Alberta has no campaign expenditure limits for candidates andparties, which will likely favor large, more established parties over small and new parties,through the larger parties greater ability to raise funds. The FDA argues that equitable laws needto replace these areas of favoritism and unfairness in Albertas electoral process. For example, theFDA recommends campaign expenditure limits that reflect the financial capability of allregistered candidates and parties, and caps on contributions and third party spending that isreflective of Albertas per capita income and income inequality data. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 40
  • 41. The pie illustrates the level of fairness of the Alberta legislation on candidate and party influence. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 41
  • 42. Chapter Four: Voter InfluenceChapter four will focus on the FDA research and audit results of Albertan laws on voterinfluence and with respect to the electoral fairness.Chapter Summary: Alberta received a score of 65 percent for the electoral fairness of itslegislation pertaining to voter influence. The score means that Albertas laws on voter influencehave more than satisfactory scores in areas overall. The FDA found electoral fairness in thefollowing sections: reasonable length of the campaign period, legislated one person, one vote,freedom of expression and assembly, reasonable voter registration requirements, existingelectoral complaints process, special ballots for citizens unable to vote on election day, publictransparency of electoral finances, caps on contributions to candidates, parties, and constituencyassociations, caps on third party electoral spending, reasonable legislative process to enforceelectoral finance laws, disclosure requirements on electoral surveys/polls, reasonable process todetermine electoral boundaries, and reasonable registration requirements of candidates andparties. The FDA found electoral unfairness in the following sections: no campaign blackoutperiod, no provisions for inclusion of minorities in the Legislative Assembly, no candidate andparty expenditure limits, high cap on contributions to parties, no laws which disallowcorporations/unions from making contributions and spending as third parties, no requirement forimpartial and balance political coverage before and during the campaign period, no mediaownership concentration laws or equivalent, no proportional representation, and undemocraticprocess of government. The level and areas of electoral unfairness measured by the FDA suggestthat voter influence reform is necessary in order to encourage more equity for voters during thecampaign period, broad and balanced electoral discourse, and a more informed electorate.However, since the voter influence received the highest score of the fours audit sections, thissuggests that reforms for voter influence is less necessary, especially in consideration of themulti-application of sub-sections. Consequently, media and electoral finance reform will havesignificant impact on the electoral fairness of both voter influence and candidate and partyinfluence.Introduction:This chapter focuses on the Alberta laws pertaining to voter influence. The FDA audit teammeasures Albertas laws according to their equity for voters based on concepts of egalitarianismand political liberalism (see Definition of Key Terms and Research Methodology for furtherexplanation). The equity of voters entails not only equal value of votes, but also equitableopportunity for voter influence prior to and during the campaign period, and reasonable means totake advantage of these opportunities. The FDA acknowledges that perfect equal opportunity andmeans to take advantage of opportunity are very likely not attainable. For example, it isinconceivable how government and society can ensure that all voters have the same education,income, intelligence, leisure time etc. However, the FDA is interested in the overall equity ofAlberta legislation pertaining to voter influence. Does the legislation promote equity withinreasonable bounds? Are there areas of the legislation that clearly favour certain voters? Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 42
  • 43. The FDA voter influence audit focuses on the following sub-sections not including relevant sub-sections from other sections: 1. blackout period; 2. value of a vote; 3. freedom of speech and assembly; 4. voter registration requirements; 5. voter electoral complaints; 6. voter protection; 7. voter assistance; 8. citizens living abroad; 9. inclusion of minorities.The FDA chose these sub-sections above and relevant sub-sections from other sections becausethey represent core areas of voter influence. Freedom of speech and assembly is weighted thehighest based on the concept of political liberalism. The FDA audit of voter influence includesresearch of Albertas election law and then application of the FDA matrices. The matrix scoringis based on an overall score of 0 to 10 out of 10.What follows are the audits results for each sub-section of Albertas legislation on voter say. Itshows the matrix question, the individual audit scores, and the research findings:Campaign PeriodDoes the length of the campaign period allow reasonably and fairly all registered candidates andparties enough time to share their backgrounds and policies with the voting public? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: The election campaign period is 28 days (Election Act, Article 38.1 (2) and 39). The longer the campaign, the more electoral finances are required, and therefore, the longer the campaign favours larger, more established parties over smaller and new parties. Based on the rationalization that this is a provincial election and with a provincial population of 3,584,304 (municpalaffairs.gov.ab.ca), 28 days is a reasonable time frame for all parties to express to the public their platform and ideologies (FDA Audit Team, 2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 43
  • 44. Blackout PeriodIs the length of the campaign blackout period reasonable? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: There is no campaign blackout period. FDA could find no campaign blackout period in the Alberta legislation. Elections Alberta confirmed this finding on February 9, 2012. There is a blackout on new surveys released 24 hours before the Election Day. During the blackout period 24 hours before the election, no media or individual can release new election survey results. Election Act, Article 135.4. (In Bolivia, election propaganda including polls and surveys are not allowed 48 hours prior to the Election Day (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Bolivia, 2011). In France, there is no commercial political advertisement 3 months prior to an election period; election propaganda during a campaign period must allow candidates adequate time to respond (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on France, 2011). In Egypt (under Mubarak), polls and surveys are not allowed 7 days prior to the Election Day (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Egypt, 2011).) Survey results released to the public prior to the ‘blackout period’ can be transmitted again to the public during the ‘blackout period’ (Election Act, Article 135.4). There is no blackout period as indicated by the score of 0. The purpose of a blackout period is to allow voters time to process information on candidates and parties (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Value of a VoteAre the electoral (numerical) value of votes the same for all eligible voters? .5 out of .5 Research Findings: An elector/voter has only one vote (Election Act, Article 110). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 44
  • 45. Freedom of Speech and AssemblyIs the freedom of speech and assembly established through constitutional or legislative law? 2 out of 2 Research Findings: Citizens have freedom of expression and assembly before, during, and after the election campaign period (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).Voter Registration RequirementsAre the voter registration requirements reasonable? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: Voters must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years of age, a resident of Alberta for at least 6 months as a date fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer, and ordinarily a resident in the electoral division and subdivision for which the name of the person will be included on the list of electors (Election Act, Article 16). There are no unreasonable restrictions on the registration of voters (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Voter Electoral ComplaintsIs there a reasonable electoral complaints process for voters? .1 out of .2 Research Findings: Voters have the right to make a legal petition against the election results or the election of a specific candidate. The petition may be filed with a Alberta judiciary centre within 30 days after election results are deemed published or if the matter pertains to eligibility of the candidate’s nomination any time during the continuation of the Legislative Assembly. The petitioner must make a $1,000 deposit to cover fees of the respondent. In addition, there is an appeals process for petitions (Election Act, Articles 185-201). The FDA researchers could not find any process in Alberta Election Act for voters to file electoral complaints during the election period. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 45
  • 46. The electoral complaints process is restricted to after an election. The FDA auditors deducted .1 from the score, for not having an electoral complaints process prior to the Election Day. The FDA believes that the complaints process should occur during the election as well to help protect the integrity of the actual vote, and further protect voters from unlawful electoral acts. Bolivias complaints process includes both before and after an election. Although the FDA acknowledges that a complaints process prior to the Election Day needs to have safeguards against frivolous electoral complaints (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Voter ProtectionAre there reasonable processes that protect voters in carrying the act of voting? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: Polling booths must be arranged in such a way that the voter is screened from observation (Election Act, Article 91). All election officials must take an oath of secrecy and aid in maintaining the secrecy of voting. Any breach of secrecy must be reported to the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Act, Article 93). Electoral officers have the authority of a justice of the peace and are responsible for maintaining peace and order at the polling stations. They may request assistance of peace officers or any persons present to aid in maintaining peace and order (Election Act, Article 94). Immediately after a vote is cast, a record is made beside that voters name indicating that he has placed his vote (Election Act, Article 103). No one shall interfere or attempt to interfere with a voter or a voters ballot, attempt to prevent a person from voting, attempt to obtain information regarding who a voter voted for while at a polling place, or enter the voters booth while a voter is marking his ballot (Election Act, Articles 105, 106). You may not attempt to remove your ballot or anyone else’s ballot from a polling place. The punishment for doing so is to forfeit the right to vote in the election (Election Act, Article 107). If an individual returns their ballot indicating that they do not wish to mark it, they have forfeited their right to vote in the election. Their ballot will be marked “declined” by the Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 46
  • 47. deputy returning officer, and the individual will leave the polling place (Election Act, Article 107.1).Voter AssistanceAre there reasonable processes to assist voters with the act of voting? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: An interpreter may be provided by the returning officer if voter does not speak or understand English to translate and/or answer questions about voting procedure (Election Act, Article 78). Polling stations are open from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on both the advanced poll and on the polling day (Election Act, Article 88). Deputy returning officer must assist a voter who due to physical incapacity or inability to read requests assistance. The officer may mark the voter’s ballot but only in the presence of a poll clerk. If the voter is blind and does not wish to be assisted, a blind voter template will be provided with instruction regarding its use. In addition, if a friend accompanies the voter, the friend may assist the voter by marking the voter’s ballot. The voter and friend will be required to take an oath before voting, and officer will record the type of assistance required, whether by friend or template (Election Act, Article 96). Provided a treatment centre or supportive living facility houses at least 10 eligible voters, it must be contacted by a returning officer to decide whether a mobile polling station will be provided to the facility. If a mobile poll is to be provided, the number of said polls, their format, and fixed hours for their operation must be established. A deputy returning officer and poll clerk must be employed for each poll (Election Act, Article 120).Citizens Living AbroadAre there reasonable processes which allow citizens living abroad to vote? .1 out of .2 Research Findings: Citizens who are abroad temporarily may vote by special ballot (Election Act, Article 116). Voters must be a Canadian citizen, at least 18 years of age, a resident of Alberta for at Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 47
  • 48. least 6 months as a date fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer, and ordinarily a resident in the electoral division and subdivision for which the name of the person will be included on the list of electors (Election Act, Article 16). Albertans living abroad temporarily can vote via special ballot. Albertans who live abroad and are not ordinarily a resident in an electoral division cannot vote. The score of .1 out of .2 reflects the fact that Albertans living abroad on a permanent or semi-permanent basis are not entitled to vote. The FDA supports the right of voting for Albertans who live abroad (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Inclusion of MinoritiesAre there reasonable measures that support the political representation of minorities anddisadvantaged groups of people? .16 out of .2 Research Findings: Although Alberta has gone through a significant progressive history of their democratic processes, there is significant ethnic diversity within the province, every adult citizen has the right to form a party, there is special balloting, there are no serious contending minorities for political power, and there are measures to allow minorities to vote, there is still no process for ensuring that minorities have political representation in the Alberta Assembly. As a result, the FDA audit team determined a score .16 (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Electoral Finance TransparencyAre candidate and party finances transparent to the public? 1 out of 1 Legislative Process: The Chief Electoral Officer may examine all financial statements and affairs of all political candidates, election campaigns and registered third parties (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 4). All records must be maintained for a period of at least three years (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 10.1). All documents filed with the Chief Electoral Officer are public records and available upon request during normal business hours (Election Finances and Contributions Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 48
  • 49. Disclosure Act, Article 11). Any campaign funds not used are held in trust, to be used during the next election. These funds may be transferred to the registered party that supported the candidates bid for election in the previous election. If the candidate is not nominated for the following election, he is to transfer these funds to the registered party or candidates that supported his bid in the previous election. If funds cannot be transferred, they are transferred to the Crown (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 12). All contributions must be deposited in the account registered with the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 14). Every candidate, constituency association and political party must have a chief financial officer who is not eligible for election and is appointed prior to the party registering with the Chief Electoral Officer. Contributions may only be accepted by the chief financial officer or another person who is deemed authorized to accept contributions, according to the records of the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 29, 31). A third party must register if it has or plans to incur expenses of $1,000 or more, or makes advertising contributions of $1,000 or more (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 9.1).Contributions to Candidates and PartiesAre electoral contributions restricted to citizens? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: Albertan citizens and corporations/unions can make electoral contributions to candidates and parties (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Are electoral contributions disallowed by foreigners, public institutions, and charities? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: No contributions to registered parties, constituency associations, and candidates from non-Alberta corporations and trade unions, public post-secondary institutions, prohibited corporations, school boards, Métis settlements, municipalities, and provincial Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 49
  • 50. corporations. (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Definition of prohibited corporation). No contribution of funds may be made if said funds do not belong to the contributor or originate out of province. During a campaign period, a provincial party may accept a maximum $150 per candidate from a registered federal political party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Articles 34, 35, 36).Are anonymous electoral contributions set at a reasonable level? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: Anonymous contributions are not allowed in excess of $50. Those in excess must be returned to the contributor. If this cannot happen, it must be paid into the general revenue fund through the Chief Electoral Officer (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 21.1). Based on the 2010 Alberta per capita income of $70,826 and in 2008, the bottom 32.4% of Albertans earned between $0 and $39,999, the FDA auditors think that $50.00 as a limit on anonymous contributions is more than reasonable (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Caps on Contributions to Candidates and PartiesAre there caps on contributions to candidates and parties? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: “In any year” contributions may not exceed $15,000 for a registered party and $1,000 for a registered constituency association (only during a campaign period) and $5,000 in aggregate for registered constituency associations of each registered party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). “In any campaign period”, contributions may not exceed $30,000 to registered parties less any contributions made that calendar year, and $2,000 to any registered candidates (only during a campaign period) and $10,000 in the aggregate to registered candidates of each registered party (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). Contributions to a candidate may only be made during an election period (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 50
  • 51. No party or candidate may knowingly accept contributions greater than these limits (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 19). Goods, services or gifts that do not exceed $50 are not considered contributions, and are not to be transferred, but are recorded under the gross amount (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 12). Contributions other than money must be valued at market value at the time of the election (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.31).Are the caps on candidates and parties contributions reflective of per capita income levels andincome inequality data? .047 out of .2 Research Findings: Based on the rationalization that 57.9% of Albertans (greater than the majority) makes below $80,000 per capita income (Statistics Canada, 2009), a great majority of Albertans do not have an equal opportunity to be involved in a fair democratic process. The FDA’s rationale is that considering the per capita income in Alberta and the statistics regarding the income disparity, it is reasonable to state that the $30,000 cap is high. Since average Albertan income in 2010 is: $70,826 (Statistics Canada, 2011). With the rationalization that 10% of personal income can be used to contribute to candidates and parties (based on the unanimous decision of the FDA audit team). 10% of average income is $7,082.60 For a $30,000 contribution cap, the percentage of Albertans that can afford this is 23.6% of the population. 76.4% of the Alberta population cannot afford the $30,000 cap. 23.6% of .2 equals .047 (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Are there caps on contributions by candidates to their own campaigns? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Registered candidates own contributions to their own campaigns are subject to the Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 51
  • 52. contribution limits to registered candidates ($2,000 limit) (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 17).Are the caps on candidates own contributions reflective of per capita income level and .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Based on the 2010 Alberta per capita income of $70,826 and in 2008, the bottom 32.4% of Albertans earned between $0 and $39,999 (Statistics Canada 2009 and 2011), the FDA auditors think that $2,000 is a reasonable limit on contributions by candidates to their own campaigns. The FDA auditors acknowledge that candidates would likely be more willing to contribute to their own campaigns than otherwise, and that if candidates did not have personal financial resources to cover the $2,000 limit, they have the opportunity to raise electoral monies through contributions from citizens and corporations and fund raising events. Further, a $2,000 difference in campaign contributions by candidates, for example, will likely not determine the election results for a particular constituency (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Campaign ExpenditureAre there campaign expenditure limits on candidates and parties? 0 out of .1 Research Findings: There are no electoral expenditure limits on registered candidates and parties. FDA researchers could find no Alberta legislation that placed direct limits on electoral expenditures. (In contrast, the Canadian federal electoral system has candidate expenditure limits on each constituency based on location and size of population, and expenditures limits on political parties based on the number of candidates endorsed by each party (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada, Electoral Finance, 2011).)Caps on Third-party SpendingAre there caps on third party spending? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Third party expenditure is limited to $15,000 in one calendar year and $30,000 in year of Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 52
  • 53. an election less any expenditure made that year (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.2(3)).If there is third party spending, is it restricted to citizens only? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: Those who may not register as a third party are: individuals that are not permanent residents of Alberta; corporations that do not carry out business in Alberta; registered charities; prohibited corporations; and trade unions or organized labor groups not defined by the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 9.1). No advertising contribution may be made or used unless it is by someone registered as a third party and subject to the same limits (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 44.2).If there are caps on third party spending, are they attainable, reasonably, by all adult citizens? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: In 2010, the Alberta per capita income is $70,826 (Statistics Canada, 2011); in 1999 the Alberta top 20% earned 14.5 times more than the lowest 20% (Penbina.org, 2000); in 2008, 32.4% of Alberta families total revenue is between $0 and $39.999, and the 42.1% of Alberta families total revenue is $80,000 or more (Statistics Canada, 2009); in 2011 Alberta has the fastest growing gap between rich and poor in Canada; the richest 1% in Alberta has as much wealth as the poorest 53% combined (Myles, 2011, Alberta Views, 2012). Based on the rationalization that corporations should have an equal vote as citizens, and individuals make much less than corporations and unions, this is stating that an individual has a similar vote to those of corporations and unions. This is untrue based on the fact that corporations and unions make substantially more money than individuals and only individuals are allowed to vote. Having a cap for individuals, corporations, and unions is unfair, especially to the 57.9% of Albertans making less than $80,000 per year. The FDA assumes that all corporations and unions can afford $30,000 electoral expenditure. Based on previous results, only 23.6% of Albertan individuals can afford $30,000 (FDA Audit Team, 2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 53
  • 54. Are there public subsidies or other financial instruments that create an equal level of third partyspending? 0 out of .1 Research Findings: FDA researchers could find no legislation on public subsidies for candidates, parties, and third parties.Legislative ProcessIs there a reasonable legislative process to enforce electoral laws? .5 out of .5 Research Findings: It is a corrupt practice to offer money, an office, any gift of valuable consideration, employment, or a loan of any kind in exchange for a vote or promise of a vote, or as a reward for declining to vote (Election Act, Article 172). Court may order the parties to bear their own costs for the appeal and/or recount. Depending on the situation, costs may be paid by the Crown in right of Alberta (Election Act, Article 148.1). Finances Act does not apply to leadership conventions within political parties (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 2). Alberta has comprehensive laws and regulations on the enforcement of the Alberta Election Act. There are established fines and persecution through the Provincial Courts. The enforcement covers the offenses/violations to the Election Act and electoral corruption. However, the Chief Electoral Officer is only person who has the power to proceed with prosecution under the Election Act (Election Act, Articles 154-184).Impartial and Balanced Political CoverageDuring the campaign period is the media (private and public) required legally topublish/broadcast impartial/balanced coverage of registered candidates and parties? 0 out of .4Outside of the campaign period is the media required legally to publish/broadcastpluralistic/balanced coverage of registered parties? Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 54
  • 55. 0 out of .4 Research Findings: There are no provincial requirements that radio and television broadcasters have to be non-partisan and balanced in their electoral coverage (1986 Radio Regulations, Article 6; 1987 Television Broadcasting Regulations). Alberta press is guided by freedom of the press and a non-enforceable Code of Practice through the Alberta Press Council (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Alberta Press Council, Code of Practice).Media Ownership Concentration LawsAre there media ownership concentration laws? 0 out of .1If there is no requirement legally of media plurality, impartiality, and balanced content or mediaownership concentration laws, are there any other laws/regulations which are effective in causinga plurality of political discourse before and during an election period? 0 out of .2 Research Findings: FDA researchers could find no media concentration laws in Alberta, which it believes would support plurality of electoral discourse. (In Norway, France, and Bolivia, there are media ownership concentrations laws that support the plurality of electoral discourse (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Reports on Norway, France, and Bolivia, 2011).)Surveys/PollsAre there reasonable public disclosure requirements on surveys and polls in terms of theirmethodology, data, and funder? .1 out of .1 Research Findings: Election surveys must include information regarding: who sponsored the survey, who conducted the survey, the date it was conducted, the population that the sample was drawn from, the number of people polled, and the margin of error (Election Act, Article 135.2). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 55
  • 56. If recognized statistical methods are not employed in a survey, this must be made clear (Election Act, Article 135.3). No new election survey results that have not been already released may be released during the blackout period 24 hours before the election (Election Act, Article 135.4). (In Bolivia, election propaganda including polls and surveys are not allowed 48 hours prior to the Election Day (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Bolivia, 2011). In France, there is no commercial political advertisement 3 months prior to an election period; election propaganda during a campaign period must allow candidates adequate time to respond (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on France, 2011). In Egypt (under Mubarak), polls and surveys are not allowed 7 days prior to the Election Day (FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Egypt, 2011). Survey results previously released to the public prior to the ‘blackout period’ can be transmitted again to the public (Election Act, Article 135.4).Methodology for Determining Winners of DistrictsIs the determination of election winners based on first-past-the-post? 0 out of 0 Research Findings: The elections of provincial constituency seats are based on first-past-the-post. The Alberta electoral system is devoid of proportional representation (Election Act, Article 138). The Elections Act states that first-past-the-post electoral methods determine the outcome of Alberta elections. First-past-the-post is deficient as compared to proportional based systems in capturing the popular vote. The matrix score for first-past-the-post is 0. This matrix sub-section does not evaluate the merits of coalition governments versus non- coalition governments or minority governments versus majority governments (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Process of GovernmentWithin the structure of government do political representatives individually and as governmentbodies have reasonable say in the formation of government policy, legislation etc.? .125 out of 1 Research Findings: Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 56
  • 57. The Alberta government is comprised of a legislative assembly and no senate (unicameral). Elected officials make up the legislative assembly. The leader of the party with the most seats in the assembly is the Premier. The Lieutenant Governor, Alberta’s representative of the Queen, must approve all provincial legislation. The Alberta cabinet, which is chaired by the Premier and comprised on MLAs from the political party with the majority of seats in Assembly, makes major decisions in government. For bills to pass they need at least simple majority of the Assembly. Bills that have the support of the Alberta cabinet likely pass, while bills that do not have support of the Cabinet likely do not pass (Service Alberta, Structure of Government; Legislative Assembly Act, Article 7 Bills and Acts; The Citizen’s Guide to Alberta Legislature, Powers of Government and Making Law). Based on the rationalization that the process is currently monopolized by the winning party with as little as 12.5% of the popular vote, the FDA thinks a fair process would ensure that the dominant party have obtained at least 50% plus one vote of the popular vote, if not, then “another process of government should be proposed”, is reasonable. Another process of government would ensure that the will of the people, as reflected in the electoral vote, is reflective of the distribution of political power in the Legislative Assembly. In the 2012 Alberta provincial election, there are 8 registered parties, and based on this, a minimum win and control of the Alberta Legislative Assembly is 12.5% of the Alberta popular vote. The score 1 times 12.5% equals 0.125 (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Registration of CandidatesAre the registration requirements of candidates reasonable and based on reasonable popularsupport rather than finances? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: A candidate must necessarily be: a Canadian citizen; 18 years old; a resident of Alberta for six months continuously up to polling day; registered under section 9 of the Election Finances Act; and nominated by 25 or more electors. Candidates must not be: a prison inmate; or a member of the senate or House of Commons. Election Act, Article 56; Alberta Election Act, Article 59. Candidates must be nominated to be on the electoral lists. Candidates need at least 25 signed support by eligible electors in the electoral division and make a deposit of $500 (Election Act, Articles 56-61). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 57
  • 58. The FDA auditors think the registration of candidates is reasonable. As with the registration with parties, the FDA thinks that there should be a reasonable barrier of entry for candidates and parties. The requirement of popular support of 25 or more electors is more than reasonable and if anything low. The FDA does not support money as a registration requirement. However, although candidates are required to make a $500 deposit the FDA accepts this deposit as reasonable on grounds that it is at a modest level, and it makes up for the support of just 25 electors (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Registration of PartiesAre the registration requirements of parties reasonable and based on reasonable popular supportrather than finances? .2 out of .2 Research Findings: For political parties to be registered, they need a party name approved by the Chief Electoral Officer and have signatures of support from at least 0.3 percent of the number of electors eligible to vote at the last general election or by having endorsed candidates for at least half of the electoral division in the province at an upcoming general election (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article; Elections Alberta). Parties must be registered with the Chief Electoral Officer. The Chief Electoral Officer may not register the party if the name of the party is likely to be confused with another or a former party, or name or abbreviation is unacceptable to the officer for “any reason” (Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Article 7). The registration of Alberta parties is based on either 0.3 percent popular voter support or having endorsed candidates in half of the Alberta electoral divisions. There is no financial component to registering a party. The FDA thinks that a democratic barrier of entry for parties is important to keep out less serious parties and parties with minimal popular support. The barriers of 0.3 percent of popular support or having at least endorsed candidates in 50 percent are fair and democratic barrier to entries. Venezuela for example has a barrier of entry for parties of 0.5 percent popular support, and the FDA supports this as a reasonable democratic barrier. The barrier has to be reasonably high to prevent less serious and unpopular parties, and yet at the same time not too high to prevent, for example, new emerging popular parties (FDA Audit Team, 2012).Total score for electoral fairness of voter influence: 65 percent out of 100 percent. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 58
  • 59. Analysis:Alberta received a score of 65 percent for the electoral fairness of its legislation pertaining tovoter influence. Based on the FDA scoring scales, the score is unacceptable. (A score of 70percent is the threshold for acceptability.) The score means that Albertas legislation on voterinfluence has more satisfactory areas overall. Of the four audit sections, voter influence receivedthe highest measurement of electoral fairness.Similar to the candidate and party influence section, the voter influence includes relevant sub-sections from the electoral finance, candidate and party influence, and political content of mediasections. These sub-sections accounts for almost the entire 35 percent zone of measuredunfairness. The FDA found electoral unfairness in the following: no campaign blackout period,no campaign expenditure limits on candidates and parties, high caps on contributions to partiesand third party spending, no laws which disallow corporations/unions from making contributionsand spending as third parties, no media ownership concentration laws or equivalent, and nolegislative requirements for impartial and balanced campaign coverage. The FDA found electoralfairness in the following: reasonable voter registration, advanced voter assistance measures,detailed voter protection measures, and freedom of speech and assembly. If the audit did notallow for multi-application of sub-sections, the FDA would have measured near 100 percent forvoter influence. Consequently, Alberta legislation on voter influence does not require reformexcept for provision to ensure the inclusion of minorities in Alberta Legislature and voterelectoral complaints prior to the Election Day.As mentioned in the Research Methodology, the voter influence section measures the equity ofvoter influence in terms of the value of a vote and before and during the campaign period. TheFDA argues that a high level of electoral fairness for voter influence does not necessarily equateto a fair electoral system. Laws on candidate and party influence, media laws, and electoralfinance laws may impact the outcome of an election. For example, the relative equity betweenvoters electoral influence may be offset by inequity between candidates and parties electoralinfluence such as grossly unfair registration requirements of candidates and parties. What goodis 65 percent equity between voters, if major media favors a particular party? (With no regulationof the political content of media, in the 2004 Alberta General Election 58% of media electionstories analyzed by the authors mentioned the Progressive Conservatives, while the Liberalswere mentioned 16% of the time, and the NDP 12% of the time according to the findings from(Wesley and Colborne, 2005). What good is 65 percent equity between voters, if electoralfinance laws favour the party with greater access to the wealthy sectors of society and which isbetter able to raise funds? (With high caps on contributions and no campaign expenditure limits,in the 2008 Alberta general election the PC Party had 36 percent more political contributionsthan all the other parties (seven) combined ($2,285,789 to $1,463,593) (Foundation forDemocratic Advancement, 2012).)To illustrate the electoral unfairness of the Alberta system, the $30,000 cap on contributions toparties will likely favour wealthy voters over less wealthy voters (see for example the findings Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 59
  • 60. under Caps on Contributions to Candidates and Parties above). Similarly, the inclusion ofcorporations/unions in contributions and third party electoral spending will favour theirdominance over voters, because corporations/unions are wealthier than most voters, especially inAlberta where the corporate sector represents the high end of the income spectrum. No mediaownership concentration laws and no requirements that the media has broad and balancedelectoral coverage will likely favour voters who are aligned ideologically with the mediaorganizations over voters who are not. No blackout period will favour voters who are alignedwith individuals and organizations with the most influence on electoral discourse. No campaignexpenditure limits on candidates and parties will favour voters aligned with candidates andparties who are better able to raise funds. The pie illustrates the level of fairness of the Alberta legislation on voter influence. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 60
  • 61. Chapter Five: Overall Audit ResultsChapter five will show the FDA’s overall and sectional audit scores for the Alberta provincialelectoral system.1. FDA research and audit results for the electoral fairness of Albertan laws on electoral finance:47.7 percent2. FDA research and audit results for the electoral fairness of Albertan laws on the politicalcontent of media:45 percent3. FDA research and audit results for the electoral fairness of Albertan laws on candidate andparty influence:51 percent4. FDA research and audit results for the electoral fairness of Albertan laws on voter influence:65 percentTotal score: 52.2 percent The pie illustrates the level of fairness based on the overall audit results. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 61
  • 62. The pie illustrates the percentage breakdown of fairness based on the overall score of 52.2 percent and the four audit sections.The pie illustrates the percentage breakdown of unfairness based on the overall score of 47.8 percent and the four audit sections.Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 62
  • 63. Chapter Six: AnalysisChapter six will provide an overall analysis of the FDA’s findings.The Alberta provincial electoral system received an unacceptable overall electoral fairness scoreof 52.2 percent out of a reasonably attainable score of 100 percent. Two audit sections receivedunacceptable passing scores, and two audit sections received unacceptable failing scores. Thesemeasurements suggest that the Alberta electoral system is in an unstable position by borderingthe overall failing zone of 49.99 percent or less. New electoral legislation could easily moveAlberta into the electoral unfairness zone. The FDA believes that the existing zone of electoralunfairness, 47.8 percent, suggests that the Alberta system is susceptible to compromise throughissues such as unequal distribution of campaign contributions among political parties andseverely imbalanced and partisan media.The FDA found electoral fairness in the following: voter issues, electoral finance transparency,enforcement of the Election Act, determination of electoral boundaries, disclosure ofsurveys/polls, voter, candidate, and party registration requirements, and freedom of speech andassembly. At the same time, the electoral system has significant deficiencies in the following:high caps on contributions to parties and third party spending, no laws which disallowcorporations/unions from making contributions and spending as third parties, no requirements ofimpartial, balanced or even pluralistic political coverage by the media, no expenditure limits oncandidate and party electoral spending, no proportional representation, and monopolistic processof government through the dominance of the Alberta Legislative Assembly by the Albertacabinet.Similar to the US federal electoral system, the FDA believes that an emphasis on freedom versusequality has weakened the Alberta electoral system. As stated in the Research Methodology,freedom alone can only guarantee that the strongest and most powerful (economically andpolitically) will dominate. The FDA believes that optimal democracy results from a balancebetween freedom and equality. Perhaps the political establishment in Alberta wants excessivefreedom considering the enormous and disproportionate wealth generated by Albertas primaryindustries, oil and gas, as compared to other Albertan industries. On the other hand, perhaps theAlberta political establishment does not understand freedom and democracy in the same way asthe FDA or the consequences from having too much and too little freedom.The FDA measured political content of the media (55 percent unfair) and electoral finance (52.3percent unfair) as the most unfair aspects of the Alberta electoral system. The FDA found theseto be gaping holes of unfairness, which could allow a wealthy minority to dominate campaignfinances or a large media conglomerate to dictate electoral discourse. These deficiencies inAlberta media and electoral finances have a significant impact on candidate, party, and voterinfluence. They impair the possibility for balanced representation of a pluralistic party system inAlberta. It also affects the ability of voters to make an informed choice during an election. TheFDA found that the Alberta system does very little to offset electoral unfairness, with the Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 63
  • 64. exception of the public transparency of electoral finances and value of a vote. Finance inequityand the sources of party funds are available through public transparency measures. The FDAbelieves that this information can lead to positive reform. The Alberta law of one person, onevote means that the people of Alberta decide who governs, however, if the public is notadequately informed of all their electoral choices its political power can and will be reduced. TheFDA argues that the potential for unequal electoral finances combined with imbalanced politicaland electoral content by the media will affect electoral discourse, and ultimately how informedthe electorate is. The FDA believes that voters will likely not vote for a candidate or party that isnot familiar to them. The political power of one person, one vote is not enough to guaranteeelection outcomes that truly represent the voice of the people.The flow charts below capture an overview of the major elements of the Alberta electoral systemand their interactions: Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 64
  • 65. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 65
  • 66. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 66
  • 67. Chapter Seven: ConclusionChapter seven will provide a conclusion based on the FDA’s findings and analysis.To be consistent with fundamental democratic principles such as one person, one vote, will ofthe people, and government for, by, of the people, the FDA believes that the Alberta provincialelectoral system requires significant reform. Presently, the electoral system is susceptible toinequitable candidate and party electoral finances, imbalanced and partisan political coverage bythe media, and inequitable candidate, party, and voter influence. Certain concentrations ofwealth, political power, and media ownership can determine a degree of electoral unfairness inAlberta. The FDA found that unfairness in electoral finance and media content, key elements offreedom, has worked to undermine a democratic electoral process. The FDA concludes that theelection system is significantly connected to wealthy elements in Alberta and likely disconnectedfrom the majority. The notion of a fair and equitable Alberta electoral system, despite certainelements of fairness, is an illusion. Small and new parties cling to the hope from one person, onevote, that they can overcome huge barriers of unfairness and inequity. The system expects thepublic to make informed choices on Election Day after inundating them with partisan andimbalanced political coverage.The powers to be in Alberta need to look themselves in the mirror and ask if doing the wrongthing is really worth it.The FDA believes that the people of Alberta need to align themselves with candidates, parties,and organizations who truly represent their interests (rather than money interests), and who arecommitted to reforming the Alberta provincial electoral system into a system which is only aboutthe people of Alberta.The table below shows the position of Albertas overall electoral fairness score in the FDAscoring scale: Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 67
  • 68. FDA Scoring Scales Score Range 2012 Albertas Score A+ 85% to 100% n/a Exceptional democratic 100% maximum scoreprocess and reasonably attainable A 80% to 84.99% n/a Outstanding democratic process B+ 75% to 79.99% n/a Very good democratic process B 70% to 74.99% n/aAcceptable democratic process D to C+ 50% to 69.99% 52.20% Unacceptable democratic process (many deficiencies and/or major deficiencies in the electoral legislation) F 0% to 49.99% n/a Unacceptable, failed 0% minimum score democratic processFoundation for Democratic Advancement (2012) Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 68
  • 69. Chapter Eight: RecommendationsChapter eight will set out the FDA’s recommendations on how to improve the electoral fairnessof the Alberta provincial electoral system.The FDA believes that the Alberta provincial electoral system requires significant reform frombordering a failed state. The FDA outlines below what it thinks are necessary reforms that needto take place:Electoral Finance: 1. The caps on contributions to parties need to be reduced from $15,000 in non-election years to about $4,000 and from $30,000 in election years to about $7,000 in election years.(FDA calculations are from the electoral finance audit section under Caps on Contributions toCandidates and Parties based on Alberta per capita income levels and income inequality data.Canada at the federal level has a $1,000 cap on contributions to candidates, and France has a€4,600 Euro cap (about $6,200 CAD) cap during the campaign period and €7,500 Euro cap(about $10,100 CAD) during non-election periods (FDA Global Electoral Fairness Reports onCanada and France, 2011).) 2. Contributions from corporations/unions and third party electoral spending to candidates, parties, and constituency associations should not be allowed.(FDA believes that the will of the people, the basis for democracy, is exclusively about citizens;corporations/unions are not citizens in terms of the democratic concept of one person, one vote;corporations/unions are not people. Also, by removing corporations/unions from electoralfinance, would help prevent wealthy elements in society from having disproportionate impact onelectoral discourse. In the following countries, for example, corporations/unions cannot makeelectoral contributions: Canada and France at the federal levels of government (FDA GlobalElectoral Fairness Reports on Canada and France, 2011).) 3. Expenditure limits need to be placed on candidate and party campaign expenditures. The number of candidates running, size of electoral divisions, and financial capabilities of candidates, parties, and constituency associations should determine the limits. The expenditure limits need to be reasonably attainable by all registered candidates, parties, and constituency associations.(The Canadian federal electoral system has expenditure limits. FDA Global Electoral FairnessReport on Canada (2011). However, expenditure limits are a mute point if they still producesignificant inequity in electoral expenditures. Canada has no measures such as public subsidiesbased on the financial need of all registered parties that would ensure fair and equitable Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 69
  • 70. campaign expenditures. In addition, Canadian established federal parties are favored throughpublic subsidies based on the number of seats won. A party with large popular support and noseats won will receive no public subsidies. In France, there are candidate expenditure limits, andif candidates attain at least 5 percent of the popular vote in their constituency, it receives back 50percent of their campaign expenditures. Also, there are public subsidies available for newpolitical parties (FDA Global Electoral Fairness Report on France, 2011).) 4. Public subsidies need to be available to small and new parties based on reasonable popular support and to larger parties based on reasonable popular support and need.(France has public subsidies for new political parties based on level of contributions andelectoral official support. Also, public subsidies are available to parties that receive at least 1percent of the popular vote, and campaign expenditures for candidates are refunded by 50percent if at least 5 percent of the popular vote is attained (FDA Global Electoral Fairness Reporton France, 2011).)Political Content of Media: 1. Media needs to be required to publish and broadcast impartial and balanced electoral coverage during the campaign period, in order to help ensure balanced electoral discourse and foster an informed electorate.(Venezuela has constitutional and legislative requirements that the medias electoral content mustbe fair and balanced (FDA Global Electoral Fairness Report on Venezuela, 2011).) 2. Media needs to be required to publish and broadcast pluralistic and balanced political coverage outside of the campaign period, in order to encourage balanced political discourse and produce an informed electorate.(Venezuela has constitutional and legislative requirements that the medias electoral content mustbe fair and balanced (FDA Global Electoral Fairness Report on Venezuela, 2011).) 3. Effective media ownership concentration laws need to be applied to all sectors of the Alberta media, in order to encourage a pluralistic media.(France, Norway, and Bolivia for example have media ownership concentration laws. Boliviarequires that media ownership concentration conform to the following ratio: 1/3 private, 1/3government, 1/3 social and indigenous groups and Bolivia has constitutional laws prohibitingmonopolies and oligopolies (FDA Global Electoral Audit Reports on France, Norway, andBolivia, 2011).)Candidate and Party Influence: 1. The media needs to be required to charge equal electoral advertisement rates to all Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 70
  • 71. registered candidates and parties.(The US federal electoral system requires that candidate and parties have equal access to mediafor electoral advertisement and equal cost of electoral advertisements (FDA Global ElectoralFairness Report on the USA, 2011).) 2. An open list proportional based system should determine winners of electoral districts. This system allows for representation of the popular vote as opposed to the first-past-the- post system. (Strong popular support represents a proportionally represented government, whereby the party in power deserves majority control of an Assembly.)(Norway and Sweden have an open list, Sainte-Laguë’s modified method proportional basedelectoral systems (FDA Global Electoral Fairness Reports on Norway and Sweden, 2011).) 3. Government process reform should require the winning party and its cabinet base the passage of legislation on at least 50 percent of popular support (in terms of elected officials’ actual voter support) in the previous election, rather than legislative dominance (FDA reform initiative, 2012). 4. In order for the people of Alberta to remove corrupt political representatives and have a direct say in government policy, policy referendum and recall legislation needs to be established.(Bolivia provides a model for these referendum processes: popular initiative referendum forissues such autonomous regions, constitutional reform, international treaties etc., and revocationcandidate/party mandate referendum (FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report on Bolivia,2011).)Voter Influence: 1. A comprehensive inquiry needs to be implemented which identifies minorities in Alberta and the extent to which their views are represented in the Alberta Legislature. If the Alberta Legislature does not represent some minorities, the system should take measures to ensure their representation including guaranteed seats in the Assembly.(New Zealand has guaranteed parliamentary seats for the Maori population; Norway has aseparate parliament for the Sami population; Syria has guaranteed parliamentary seats based ongender and occupation; and Iraq has guaranteed seats for women and religious minorities (FDAGlobal Electoral Fairness Reports on New Zealand, Norway, Syria, and Iraq, 2011).)The FDA believes that these reforms if implemented will help return Alberta to the people ofAlberta, and allow Albertans to realize their individual and collective potential through freedom,fairness, and equal opportunity for all. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 71
  • 72. ReferencesAlberta Views. (2012). “Going it Alone.” Editorial: Evan Osenton. January/February 2012.Alberta Press Council, Code of Practice, 2006-2007. Retrieved from Alberta Press Council website: http://www.albertapresscouncil.ca/code_of_practice.htmlBlackwell, W. Christopher. (2003). “Athenian Democracy: a brief overview.” In Adriaan Lanni, ed., “Athenian Law in its Democratic Context” (Center for Hellenic Studies On-line Discussion Series). Republished in C.W. Blackwell, ed., Dēmos: Classical Athenian Democracy (A. Mahoney and R. Scaife, edd., The Stoa: a consortium for electronic publication in the humanities [www.stoa.org]). February 28, 2003.Canadian Charter on Rights and Freedoms, 1982. Retrieved from Canadian Department of Justice website: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/charter/Election Act, Revised Statutes of Alberta. (2000, c. E-1). Retrieved from the Service Alberta website: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfmpage=E01.cfm&leg_type= Acts&isbncln=9780779733903Elections Alberta. (2009). “2008 Annual Report of the Chief Electoral Officer: The Electoral Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act for the Calendar Year 2008.” Retrieved from the Elections Alberta website: http://www.elections.ab.ca/ %20Website/files/Reports/2008_ANNUAL_REPORT_NET_ POSTING_JAN_14_2009.pdfElections Alberta. Various information retrieved from Elections Alberta website: http://www.elections.ab.ca/Public%20Website/index.htmElection Almanac. (2011). Alberta provincial election 2011 election results. Retrieved January 14, 2012, from http://www.electionalmanac.com/canada/alberta/results.phpElectoral Boundaries Commission Act, Revised Statutes of Alberta. (2000, c.E 3 as amended (the Act))Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, Revised Statutes of Alberta (2000, c. E-2). Retrieved from the Service Alberta website: http://www.qp.alberta. ca/574.cfm?page=E02.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=9780779730315Jensen Harold, & Young Lisa. (2005). “Electoral Democracy in Alberta: Time for Reform.” Institute for Advanced Policy Research, University of Calgary. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 72
  • 73. Ibrahim, M. Oweiss. Egypt’s Economy: The Pressing Issues. Retrieved from: http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/imo3/epe/epe.htmLegislative Assembly Act, Revised Statutes of Alberta. (2000 Chapter L-9 Current as of November 1, 2010). Retrieved from the Service Alberta website: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfmpage=L09.cfm&leg_type=Acts&isbncln=97807797536 59Lessig, Lawerence. (2011). Republic, Lost. New York: Hachette Book Group.Lisac, M. (2004). In Barbour D., Penny M. (Eds.), Alberta politics uncovered taking back our province. Edmonton: NeWest Press.Macpherson, C. B. (1962). Democracy in alberta: Social credit and the party system (2nd ed.) University of Toronto Press.Myles, John. (2011). “Why Have Poorer Neighbourhoods Stagnated Economically, While The Richer Have Flourished?” Working Paper. University of Toronto.Proposed Electoral Division Areas, Boundaries, and Names for Alberta, Interim Report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. (February, 2010), from http://www.altaebc.ab.ca/EBC%20Interim%20Report_web5mb.pdfPublic Interest Alberta. (2009). How Alberta compares on money and politics- political, election and campaign finance in Alberta: realities, comparison, and possibilities for reform. Retrieved from Public Interest Alberta website: http://pialberta.org/sites/default/files/Documents/howalbertacomparesmp.pdfRadio Regulations, 1986. Retrieved from the Department of Justice Canada website: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR%2D86%2D982/Stewart, D., & Archer, K. (2000). Party democracy in Alberta. In V. Adams (Ed.), Quasi- democracy: Parties and leadership selection in Alberta (pp. 3-21). Vancouver: UBC Press.Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987. Retrieved from the Department of Justice Canada website: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-87-49/The Citizen’s Guide to Alberta Legislature, 2010. (7th Edition). Retrieved from http://www.assembly.ab.ca/pub/gdbook/citizensguide.pdf Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 73
  • 74. Structures of Government, February 2012. Service Alberta. Retrieved from Service Alberta website: http://www.albertacanada.com/immigration/living/government-structure.aspxWesley, J.J., & Colborne, M. (2005). “Framing Democracy: Media Politics and the 2004 Alberta Election.” presented at Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2005/Wesley,%20Jared.pdf Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 74
  • 75. Definition of Key Terms:The Foundation for Democratic Advancement characterized the following definitions:Candidate and party influence refers to the opportunity and ability of candidates and parties tocampaign in the public domain for elected positions. This opportunity and ability occur before,during, and after an election period. Candidate and party influence may involve political contentof media, electoral finance, and voter influence (as defined below). In the terms of the FDAelectoral fairness audit, which focuses on electoral process, candidate and party influenceincludes:· Registrations requirements for candidates and parties.· Laws on candidates and parties access to media and reasonable opportunity to take advantage of the access.· Regulations on access to major debates.· Electoral complaints process for candidates and parties.· Laws on contributions to candidates and parties.· Procedures for formation of electoral lists and boundaries.· Procedures for the determination of elected winners in districts.· Regulations on the political content of public and private media.· Laws on the structure of state bodies and their relationship in terms of political power.· Length of the campaign period.· Rules on right of reply in the media for registered candidates and parties.In the FDA electoral fairness audit, candidate and party influence only encompasses laws,regulations, procedures etc. that affect the electoral influence of candidates and parties. Forexample, candidate and party influence does not encompass laws on electoral complaints byvoters nor does it encompass laws on voter assistance at polling booths.Electoral fairness refers to the impartiality and equitability of election law before, during, andafter an election period. In the context of the Audit, electoral fairness involves concepts relatingto political content in the media, candidate and party influence, electoral finance, and voterinfluence. In particular, this includes evaluating impartiality and balance of political content inthe media, equitable opportunity and ability for registered candidates and parties to influencevoters and government, equitable electoral finance laws, and equitable opportunity and ability forvoters to voice political views and/or influence the outcome of an election.Electoral fairness does not entail bias through for example legislation which gives a concreteelectoral advantage to one registered party over another, or legislation that allows equitableaccess to media without facilitating equal opportunity to take advantage of equal access. Incontrast, electoral fairness would include a broad, balanced diffusion of electoral propaganda byregistered political parties during the campaign period, equal campaign finances (beyond equalexpenditure limits) for all registered parties according to the number of candidates endorsed, and Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 75
  • 76. the registration of parties based on reasonable popular support (rather than financial deposit orunreasonable popular support).Electoral fairness in any democratic process must include an equal playing field for registeredparties and candidates, distinguishable by voters according to a clear political platform, and abroad and balanced political discourse in where information about electoral choices are clear andavailable to the voting public.Electoral finance refers to electoral finance laws applied to registered candidates and partiesbefore, during, and after an election period. Electoral finance also encompasses campaignfinance which is restricted to the campaign period.In the context of the FDA electoral fairness audit, electoral finance includes:· Caps on electoral contributions (or the lack of).· Caps on candidate and party electoral expenditures (or the lack of).· Procedures for financial disclosure and reporting of candidate and party electoral finances.· Procedures for the handling of electoral contributions by registered candidates and parties.· Public electoral subsidies (or the lack of).· Laws on who can make electoral contributions.· Laws for third party electoral expenditure (or the lack of).· Rules for electoral deposits by registered candidates and parties.Electoral finance does not include non-financial laws, regulations, procedures etc. such as lawson candidate and party access to media, political right laws like freedom of speech and assembly,rules on right of reply in the media, laws on the political content of media, and laws on voterassistance.Political content of media refers to the political content of radio and television broadcasters, theprinted press, and online news media such as news sites before, during, and after an electionperiod. This content may entail news stories, editorials, articles, programs, and group analysisand discussion. It does not include electoral advertisements by candidates, parties, and thirdparties. Electoral advertisements by candidates and parties are included in candidate and partyinfluence, and electoral advertisements by third parties are included in voter influence andelectoral finance.In the context of FDA electoral fairness audit, political content of media includes:· Registration requirements for television and radio broadcast companies and press companies.· Laws on the ownership concentration of media (or the lack of).· Laws on the political content of media before, during, and after a campaign period.· Laws on freedom of the press and broadcasters. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 76
  • 77. · Laws on the regulation of broadcasters and the press.The FDA defines “balance” in the media as equal political content of all registered politicalparties. This definition supports the premise that voters should have balanced information on allregistered candidates and parties, and election outcomes reflect the will of the voting public. TheFDA does not support the idea that incumbent or previously successful parties should be favoredin media coverage in a current election as this could create bias based merely on past results, andpotentially weaken the process of capturing the will of the people in the present. In addition, theFDA does not support unlimited freedom of broadcast and press media. The FDA believes thereis a misleading connection between freedom of media and democracy. The purpose ofdemocratic elections is to capture as accurately as possible the will of the people from districts. Abroad and balanced electoral discourse supports the will of the people producing an informedelectorate. The FDA concedes that if sufficient media ownership concentration laws existed toproduce pluralistic media ownership and equitable coverage of all registered political parties, anyimbalance in political content in the media could be canceled out.Voter influence refers to the citizens who are eligible to vote and their opportunity to expressthrough articles, letters to editors, blogs, advertisements, spoken word etc. their political voice inthe public domain and to vote. Voter influence applies to before, during, and after an electionperiod.In the context of the FDA electoral fairness audit, which focuses on electoral process, voterinfluence includes:· Laws and regulations on freedom of speech and assembly.· Laws on the registration requirements for voters.· Laws on voter assistance at the polling booth.· Rules on right of reply by voters in the media.· Laws on the inclusion of minorities in the electoral process.· Caps on electoral contributions and candidate and party expenditures (or the lack of).· Caps on third party electoral expenditures (or the lack of).· Laws on electoral complaints to the election authority by voters.· Laws on the ownership concentration in the media (or the lack of).· Laws on the political content of the media.· Registration requirements for candidates and parties.In the context of the FDA electoral fairness audit, voter influence may involve political contentof media, candidate and party influence, and electoral finance. The involvement is contingent onthe impact on voter influence. For example, no cap on contributions to candidates and partieswill affect voter influence because no cap favors voters with more financial wealth, and therebycreate inequity and imbalance in voter influence.(Foundation for Democratic Advancement, 2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 77
  • 78. History of the Alberta Provincial Electoral SystemIn 1905, the Alberta Act established the Canadian province of Alberta. Since this time, there haveonly been majority governments, with four parties having power: The Liberal Party from 1905 to1921; the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) from 1921 to 1935; The Social Credit Party from1935 to 1971; and the Progressive Conservative Party which has ruled from 1971 to the time ofwriting in 2012 (Election Almanac, 2011). Macpherson (1962) described Albertas system duringthe reign of The Social Credit Party as not a multi-party, one-party or non-party system, but as aquasi-party system for numerous reasons. These include the swift manner in which the UFA andSocial Credit Party came into power (which could also be said of the Progressive ConservativeParty, going from six seats out of 65 in the Legislative Assembly in 1967, to 45 of 75 seats in1971 (Election Almanac)), the lack of a competitive method in creating policies, and the fact thatparties were still used and opposition parties still present. Stewart and Archer (2000) characterizeopposition parties as entities which struggle more to survive than to win governments.A variety of explanations have been given for this quasi-party system. Macpherson (1962)focuses on the origin of Alberta, a province tightly controlled by the federal government with apopulation similar in class structure. He attributes the relative dissolution of the federal partiesprovincial counterparts during the reign of the UFA and Social Credit Parties to distrust of thefederal government. Lisac (2004) notes that during the reign of the Alberta ProgressiveConservative Party, politicians fostered a similar distrust. In addition to this apparent culturalexplanation, Stewart and Archer (2000) discuss the relationship between longevity of party ruleand perceptions of the party leader, noting the popularity of long-serving leaders and premiersWilliam Aberhart, Preston Manning, Peter Lougheed and Ralph Klein. Stewart and Archercontrasts the reigns of these individuals with that of former Progressive Conservative leader andPremier Don Getty, whose time in office was marked by an increasing opposition size.Other explanations for the political state in Alberta center on the disparities between the parties,in particular between the Progressive Conservatives, and Liberals and New Democratic Party(NDP). Lisac (2004) focuses on the greater experience of Progressive Conservative candidatescompared to those in the opposition. He concludes that there is little reason for someone tobecome a candidate for an opposition party, due to impairment of future non-politicalemployment, hostility from the governing party, making less money than other governmentmembers (due to such members presence on boards and agencies) and having less mediacoverage than the governing party. The last point is supported by findings from Wesley andColborne (2005) which state that during the 2004 Alberta General Election, 58% of provincialmedia election stories mentioned the Progressive Conservatives while the Liberals and the NDPgarnered 16% and 12% of coverage, respectively. Research also reveals a disparity in campaignfinances. Quantitatively, Lisac notes that in 2003 the Progressive Conservatives raised $2.3million, the Liberals raised $348, 759 and the NDP raised $417, 966 for their respectivecampaigns. According to Public Interest Alberta (2009) the Progressive Conservatives spenttwice as much as all other parties combined in the 2004 and 2008 elections. Public InterestAlberta also notes qualitative differences in financing, with the Progressive Conservatives Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 78
  • 79. receiving most of their contributions from corporations, while the NDP received most of theircontributions from individuals. The Alberta electoral system, in particular its first-past-the-postsystem, has also been blamed for the weak state of opposition parties in the province(McCormick, cited in Stewart and Archer, 2000).Voter Turnout:Another aspect of the Alberta provincial electoral system is relative low voter turnout. Over lastfive provincial elections, voter turnout has been low and on an overall decline:Year of Provincial Election Percentage of Voter Turnout2008 40.62004 44.72001 52.81997 52.81993 60.2Elections Alberta (2010). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 79
  • 80. Another way to look at the voter turnout is from the standpoint of voters and non-voters:Yes of Provincial Election Percentage of Voter Turnout Percentage of Non-voters2008 40.6 59.42004 44.7 55.32001 52.8 47.21997 52.8 47.21993 60.2 39.8Elections Alberta (2010).The table above demonstrates that in the last two Alberta provincial elections, there weresignificantly more non-voters than voters. The 2008 election had an 18.8% difference and the2004 election had a 10.6% difference.Elections Results:Further, the Progressive Conservative Party has won a majority of the seats in the AlbertaLegislature since 1971:Year Seats Won by Percentage of Percentage of PC Party Assembly Seats Popular Vote1971 49 of 75 65.3 46.41975 69 of 75 92 62.71979 74 of 79 93.7 57.41982 75 of 79 94.9 62.31986 61 of 83 73.5 51.41989 59 of 83 71.1 44.31993 51 of 83 61.4 44.51997 63 of 83 75.9 51.22001 74 of 83 89.2 61.92004 62 of 83 74.5 46.82008 72 of 83 86.7 52.7Wikipedia, List of Alberta General Elections (2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 80
  • 81. As shown in the table and graph above, in every election year since 1971, the percentage of thePC Partys seats in the Legislative Assembly has been significantly greater than the PC Partyspercentage of popular vote. In addition, the most significant difference in seats and popular voteoccurs when the PC Party has the greatest number of seats in the Legislative Assembly.History of Albertas Electoral Process:During the 1910s, plurality defined Alberta’s electoral system. In 1926, a dual electoral systemreplaced plurality in where Edmonton and Calgary had multi-member districts and a singletransferable vote (STV). The STV ranks candidates in order of preference and has a quota systembased on popular vote and voter preferences. Rural areas had an alternative vote (AV) system.The AV system is similar to the STV, except there are single-member districts, and candidatesneed to earn a majority of the votes. In 1956, a single member plurality (SMP), commonlyreferred to as first-past-the-post, replaced the dual system and is still in effect at the time ofwriting (Jensen & Young, 2005).From 1971 to 1975, the number electoral districts were 74. In 1979, the number of electoraldistricts increased to 79, and from 1986 to 2009, the number of electoral districts increased to 83.In 2010, the number of electoral districts again increased to 87 (Elections Alberta, 2012). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 81
  • 82. Research MethodologyMethodology of the Electoral Fairness Audit:The FDA research methodology is rooted in non-partisanship and the political concepts ofegalitarianism and liberalism. A non-partisan approach allows the FDA to remain as objective aspossible.Egalitarianism is part of the FDA methodology from the standpoint of political equality (orneutrality), in which each person has one vote of equal value. The FDA also extends politicalequality into non-election and election periods, demanding a relatively equal playing field forregistered candidates and parties and broad and balanced political discourse. The FDA believesthat political equality is a core component of democracy, whereby electoral legislation is neutralfor all candidates and parties, the value of a vote is same for all eligible voters, and candidatesand parties have an opportunity to disseminate their of political view points in a reasonablybalanced manner. The FDA recognizes that complete political equality is not attainable, butassumes that a reasonable state of political equality is possible.Liberalism is part of the FDA methodology from the standpoint of political freedom, andprogress, innovation, and reform through that freedom. The FDA believes that political freedomis also a core component of democracy, whereby candidates and parties, citizens, and mediapersons are permitted to express their political views.The FDA believes that the union of freedom and equality, an essential part of democracy, meanscompromise for the greater democratic good of society and political freedom within the boundsof political equality.Based on its research of international electoral systems and study of fundamental democraticconcepts, the FDA believes that optimal democracy results from a balance of freedom andequality. Too much freedom can allow the most powerful (or wealthy) to dominate politically,and too much equality can weaken individual freedoms to a point that impedes progress andinnovation. The FDAs methodology centers on finding the optimal balance by identifying andanalyzing extremes on either end of the freedom/equality continuum and reasonable methods inthe electoral process.The FDA uses egalitarianism and liberalism as the basis for its methodology because in theFDAs opinion, these concepts are consistent with core democratic principles such as politicalfreedom and equality. With reference to John Rawls and The Theory of Justice, Rawls concept ofthe “veil of ignorance" supports the theoretical justification for political fairness and equality. Inthe “veil of ignorance” prior to the formation of society, no reasonable person would gamble onhis or her lot in life, and instead would choose a free existence within the constraints ofegalitarianism. Beyond this veil, democracy has its Greek roots in demos the people and kratosrule (Christopher W. Blackwell, 2003). The FDA believes that democracy of and by the people Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 82
  • 83. must entail political freedom within the bounds of political equality. Excessive political freedomwould likely lead to a plutocracy or rule of the rich, and excessive political equality would likelylead to communism.The FDA methodology has two main components: research and audit. The research component isqualitative, based on collecting relevant facts and data, and sourcing the information collectedusing APA guidelines. The audit process too is qualitative but also employs a quantitative aspect.The audit entails team analysis of research using matrices and the interpretation of the auditresults using scoring scales.Matrices:The FDA matrices are a detailed, spreadsheet scoring system of relevant data and information.The matrices scores conform to the concept of optimal democracy defined as a balance offreedom and equality. The purpose of the matrices is to objectify the audit process and helpcreate result reliability through an established structure of scoring. Relevance to the electoralprocess and the four audit sections inform the variables in the matrices. Individual matrix scoresare based on their positive or negative impact on the electoral process in terms of optimaldemocracy. To illustrate, the two sub-sections below were part of the matrices used in the Albertaelectoral fairness audit:Political Content of the Media, Matrix Section, for Alberta: Categories Measures Example or Rational Score Alternative ScaleFreedom of the Is the freedom of the If yes<4; if The score of 4 represents 4Media media (including no=0 the significance of media journalists) freedom within reasonable established through limits. The score of 0 constitutional or represents imbalanced, legislative law? one-sided political discourse in the media through unreasonable restrictions on media freedom.Impartial and During the campaign If yes=2; if The campaign period is the 0Balanced Political period is the media no=0; if most heightened period inCoverage (private and public) freedom of terms of voter awareness. required legally to media=0, then The media due to its mass publish/broadcast yes=0 influence has the means to Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 83
  • 84. impartial/balanced impact significantly coverage of electoral discourse. The registered candidates requirement of balanced, and parties? impartial media coverage would prevent the media from being imbalanced and partisan.In this example, media freedom garnered significant weight (40 percent of the total score forpolitical content of media) and value in other sub-sections. (As an example, see the intersectionof column Example or Alternative Scale and row Impartial and Balanced Political Coverageabove.) Impartial and Balanced Political Coverage is weighted on grounds of the democraticimportance of a broad and balanced electoral discourse and a corresponding well-informedelectorate. As mentioned, a positive or negative impact on the electoral process determinesmatrix weightings and scores. According to the scores in the matrix example above, the FDAassumes that freedom of media has more impact on the electoral process than impartial andbalanced political coverage.The FDA matrices are comprised of four sections: electoral finance, political content of media,candidate and party influence, and voter influence (see Definition of Key Terms). Within thesesections, there are 52 variables (sub-sections), where 127 variables including sub-sections usedin more than one section comprise the overall matrix score. Within the electoral finance section,there are 19 sub-sections; within the political content of media section, there are 10 sub-sections;within the candidate and party influence section, there are 48 sub-sections; and within the voterinfluence section, there are 50 sub-sections.Weighting and Scoring:Overall, the soundness of reasons for scores and the relevancy of each area guides FDA grading.Since each audit section has a maximum and minimum score, sub-section scores are determinedbased on their relation to each other and their impact on optimal democracy as related to therelevant section. The FDA acknowledges that the determination of scores is an unavoidablequalitative step. The FDA minimizes the subjectivity of scores through required group consensuson their values.Each audit section has a score range between 0 and 10, and each section counts equally. Asmentioned, the FDA matrices allow, based on relevancy, sub-sections apply to multiple sections.For example, the sub-section electoral finance transparency is part of the electoral finance, voterinfluence and candidate and party influence sections. The FDA justifies multi-application ongrounds that electoral financial transparency significantly affects voters, candidates and parties.For example, electoral finances only transparent to a government will favour candidates andparties aligned with the ruling party and voters who support that government. In contrast,electoral finances transparent to the public will affect all voters, candidates, and parties equally Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 84
  • 85. and help prevent electoral finance fraud and corruption.As illustrated in the matrix example above, scores are based on the formula if yes=#, if no=#.The scale rests on yes and no answers. In the case of ambiguous answers, the FDA uses the lesserthan and greater than values (“<” and “>”). When these values are used, the FDA audit teamattempts to reach consensus on the score, and if that it is not possible, the FDA takes the mean ofthe individual scores, with each score having equal weight. Relevant and sound evidence, facts,and/or reasons, whether team or individual, must support audit scores. To enhance the reliabilityof audit results, the FDA has a group of experienced auditors. An audit team has a minimumquorum of five auditors and maximum of nine auditors. Any auditors in excess of nine act assilent observers. New auditors are introduced to the process first as observers, then asresearchers, and then as auditors within a team of experienced auditors.Audit Focus:The FDAs electoral fairness audit focuses on four areas of the Alberta electoral process before,during and after elections:1) Laws on electoral finance;2) Laws on political content of media;3) Laws on candidate and party influence; and4) Laws on voter influence.The FDA audits these four areas because they cover broad aspects of the electoral process. TheFDA acknowledges that electoral laws may not necessarily correspond to the implementation ofthose laws or the public’s response to them. The implementation and response could be positiveor negative, in terms of electoral fairness. Nevertheless, laws provide the foundation fordemocracy, framework for the electoral system, and an indication of electoral fairness. Aprovinces constitutional and/or electoral laws are part of the reality of its democracy. In the 2012general election, the FDA will conduct ground assessments of the Alberta provincial electoralsystem in tandem with its audit and analysis to determine the correlation between process andactualities. Following the 2012 Alberta general election the FDA will publish its report. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 85
  • 86. Appendix 1:The following Alberta legislative excerpts for the four audit sections were identified by the FDAresearchers as relevant significantly:1. Electoral Finance:Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act(l) “prohibited corporation” means(i) a Provincial corporation as defined in the FinancialAdministration Act, and includes a management bodywithin the meaning of the Alberta Housing Act and aregional health authority and a subsidiary healthcorporation under the Regional Health Authorities Act,(ii) a municipality,(iii) a Metis settlement,(iv) a school board under the School Act,(v) a public post-secondary institution under thePost-secondary Learning Act,(vi) any corporation that does not carry on business in Alberta,(vi.1) a corporation associated with a corporation referredto in subclauses (i) to (vi) as determined undersection 256 of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or(vii) any corporation designated by the LieutenantGovernor in Council as a prohibited corporation;(m) “registered candidate” means a candidate registered underthis Act;(n) “registered constituency association” means aconstituency association registered under this Act;(o) “registered party” means a political party registered underthis Act;(p) “trade union” means a trade union as defined by theLabour Relations Code, the Public Service EmployeeRelations Act or the Canada Labour Code (Canada), andthat holds bargaining rights for employees in Alberta andfor the purposes of this Act all locals in Alberta of a tradeunion are deemed to be one trade union.Application of Act2 This Act does not apply to campaigns and conventions carried on or held in relation to theleadership of a registered party or in relation to constituency association nominations forendorsation of official party candidates. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 86
  • 87. 4(1) The Chief Electoral Officer, in addition to the Chief ElectoralOfficer’s other powers and duties under this Act, the Election Act and the Senatorial SelectionAct,(a) may examine all financial statements required to be filed with the Chief Electoral Officer;(b) may inquire into or conduct periodic investigations of the financial affairs and records of(i) registered parties and registered constituency associations,(ii) registered candidates in relation to election campaigns, and(iii) registered third parties in relation to election advertising under Part 6.1;(c) shall provide or approve forms for the purposes of this Act;(d) with respect to a candidate, shall publish a statement on the website of the Chief ElectoralOfficer within 30 days after the date on which the financial statement is required to be filed withthe Chief Electoral Officer under section 43(2), which must include the name of any contributorwho has contributed to the candidate an amount exceeding $375 in the aggregate, and the actualamount contributed;(e) with respect to a third party, shall publish a statement on the website of the Chief ElectoralOfficer within 30 days after the date on which the election advertising report isQualifications for registration 6(1) No political party and no person acting for a political partymay accept contributions for the political party or for any constituency association of that partyunless the political party is registered under this Act.(2) Any political party that(a) held a minimum of 3 seats in the Legislative Assemblyfollowing the most recent election,(b) endorsed candidates nominated in at least 50% of the electoral divisions in the most recentgeneral election,(c) endorses candidates in at least 50% of the electoral divisions following the issue of a writ ofelection for a general election, or(d) at any time, other than during a campaign period, provides the Chief Electoral Officer withthe names, addresses and signatures of persons who(i) represent 0.3% of the number of electors eligible to vote at the last general election,(ii) are currently eligible to vote in an election, and (iii) request the registration of that politicalparty, is, subject to subsection (3), qualified for registration in the register of political parties.(3) A political party shall not be registered under this Act unless the Chief Electoral Officer issatisfied that prior to filing an application for registration the party has established a non-profitcorporation or trust as a foundation for the purposes of receiving and managing the assets, exceptthe premises, equipment, supplies and other such property required for the administration of theaffairs of the party, held by the political party immediately prior to filing the application.(4) The assets of a foundation established under subsection (3) shall consist of funds either ondeposit with a financial institution or invested in accordance with the Trustee Act.(5) No funds or other property may be received by or transferred to a foundation after the filingof an application for registration of the political party that established the foundation except forinterest on the funds on deposit or the income from investments referred to in subsection (4).(6) Each foundation shall file with the Chief Electoral Officer on or before April 1 in each year a Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 87
  • 88. report of the expenditures of that foundation during the previous year.Registration of third parties 9.1(1) A third party shall apply for registration under this section(a) when it has incurred expenses of $1000 or plans to incur expenses of at least $1000 forelection advertising, or(b) when it has accepted election advertising contributions of $1000 or plans to accept electionadvertising contributions of at least $1000.(5) The following are not eligible to be registered under this section:(a) a corporation that does not carry on business in Alberta;(b) a person who is not ordinarily resident in Alberta;(c) a trade union or employee organization that is not a trade union or employee organization asdefined in this Act;(d) a group where any member of the group is ineligible under clause (a), (b) or (c);(e) a registered charity within the meaning of subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act (Canada);(f) a prohibited corporation.(6) The Chief Electoral Officer shall, as soon as possible after receiving an application,(a) determine whether the requirements set out in this section are met,(b) notify the persons who signed the application whether the applicant is accepted forregistration, and (c) in the case of a refusal to register, give reasons for the refusal.Records 10.1 A registered party, registered constituency association, registered candidate andregistered third party shall retain all of the records of that registered party, registeredconstituency association, registered candidate or registered third party for a period of 3 yearsfollowing the date on which the financial statements required under this Act for the period towhich the records relate are required to be filed.Access to documents 11(1) All documents filed with the Chief Electoral Officer arepublic records and may on request during normal office hours be inspected at the offices of theChief Electoral Officer.(2) Copies of any document referred to in subsection (1) may be obtained on payment for thepreparation of the copies at the rates that the Chief Electoral Officer may determine.Part 3 ContributionsContinuing use of campaign funds 12(1) Any campaign funds held by a candidate at the end of acampaign period that include contributions received by the candidate for the purpose of thecandidate’s campaign shall be held in trust to be expended for the candidate’s candidacy at thenext election.(4) If a candidate is not nominated or does not declare the candidate’s candidacy as anindependent candidate for the next election, the candidate shall, not later than 7 days after theday fixed for nominations, transfer or pay the amount held by the candidate in trust pursuant tosubsection (1) to Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 88
  • 89. (a) the registered party that proposed or supported the candidate’s registration at the previouselection,(b) the registered constituency associations of the registered party that proposed or supported thecandidate’s registration at the previous election, or(c) the registered candidates of the registered party that proposed or supported the candidate’sregistration at the previous election,at the option of the candidate, or to the Crown in right of Alberta if the funds cannot betransferred in accordance with clause (a), (b) or (c).(2) Money or goods provided by any person, corporation, trade union or employee organizationthat do not exceed $50 in the aggregate are not a contribution for the purposes of this Act butshall be recorded as to the gross amount by the chief financial officer of the recipient unless thedonor specifically requests that the amount be considered a contribution.Deposit of contributions14(1) All financial contributions accepted by or on behalf of a registered party, registeredconstituency association or registered candidate shall be paid into an appropriate depository onrecord with the Chief Electoral Officer.(2) When any contribution of other than money, accepted by or on behalf of a registered party,registered constituency association or registered candidate, is converted at any time into money,that amount shall be paid into an appropriate depository on record with the Chief ElectoralOfficer.Limitation on contributions(1) Contributions by any person, corporation, trade union oremployee organization to registered parties, registered constituencyassociations or registered candidates shall not exceed(a) in any year,(i) $15 000 to each registered party, and(ii) $1,000 to any registered constituency association, and$5,000 in the aggregate to the registered constituencyassociations of each registered party,and(b) in any campaign period,(i) $30,000 to each registered party less any amountcontributed to the party in that calendar year underclause (a)(i), and(ii) $2,000 to any registered candidate, and $10,000 in theaggregate to the registered candidates of eachregistered party.Excessive contributions 19(1) No registered party, registered constituency association orregistered candidate and no person on its or the candidate’s behalf shall knowingly accept anycontributions in excess of the limits imposed by section 17. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 89
  • 90. (2) If the chief financial officer learns that a contribution was accepted by or on behalf of theregistered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate for whom the chieffinancial officer acts in excess of the limits imposed by section 17, the chief financial officershall, within 30 days after learning of it, advise the Chief Electoral Officer in writing of the factand circumstances.Anonymous and unauthorized contributions 21.1(1) Any anonymous contribution in excess of$50 and anycontribution or portion of a contribution made in contravention of this Act accepted by aregistered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate must not be used orexpended, and the registered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate(a) shall return the contribution to the contributor if the contributor’s identity can be established,or(b) if the contributor’s identity cannot be established, shall pay an amount equivalent to thecontribution to the Chief Electoral Officer.(2) Any amounts received by the Chief Electoral Officer under subsection (1)(b) must be paidinto the General Revenue Fund.Fund-raising functions23(1) In this section, “fund-raising function” includes any social function held for the purpose ofraising funds for the registered party, registered constituency association or registered candidateby whom or on whose behalf the function is held.(2) The gross income from any fund-raising function must be recorded by the chief financialofficer of the registered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate thatheld the function or on whose behalf the function was held.(3) If an individual charge by the sale of tickets or otherwise is made for a fund-raising functionheld by or on behalf of a registered party, registered constituency association or registeredcandidate, then, for the purposes of this Act,(a) if the individual charge is $50 or less, it shall not be considered as a contribution unless theperson who pays the charge specifically requests that it be so considered, in which case 1/2 shallbe allowed for expenses and 1/2 shall be considered as a contribution to the registered party,registered constituency association or registered candidate, as the case may be, and(b) if the individual charge is more than $50, $25 shall be allowed for expenses and the balanceshall be considered as a contribution to the registered party, registered constituency associationor registered candidate, as the case may be.(4) The price paid by a person at a fund-raising function in excess of the market value at thattime for goods or services received is considered to be a contribution to the registered party,registeredPart 4Collection of ContributionsChief financial officers 29(1) Every political party, constituency association and candidateshall, before filing its application for registration with the Chief Electoral Officer, appoint a chieffinancial officer. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 90
  • 91. (2) When a chief financial officer appointed pursuant to subsection (1) ceases for any reason tohold that office, the political party, constituency association or candidate, as the case may be,shall forthwith appoint another chief financial officer.(3) A candidate may not be appointed as chief financial officer for a candidate under this section.Acceptance of contributions31 No contribution shall be accepted by a registered candidate otherwise than through thecandidate’s chief financial officer or other person on record with the Chief Electoral Officer asauthorized to accept contributions.Contributions not belonging to contributor 34(1) Subject to section 26, no person, corporation,trade union or employee organization shall contribute to any registered party, registeredconstituency association or registered candidate funds not actually belonging to that person,corporation, trade union or employee organization, or any funds that have been given orfurnished to the person, corporation, trade union or employee organization by any persons orgroups of persons or by a corporation, trade union or employee organization for the purpose ofmaking a contribution of those funds to that registered party, registered constituency associationor registered candidate.(2) No registered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate and no personon its or the candidate’s behalf shall solicit or knowingly accept any contribution contrary tosubsection (1).(3) If the chief financial officer learns that a contribution received by or on behalf of theregistered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate for whom the chieffinancial officer acts was made contrary to subsection (1), the chief financial officer shall, within30 days after learning that the contribution was made contrary to subsection (1), advise the ChiefElectoral Officer in writing of the fact and circumstances.he chief financial officer learns that a contribution was accepted by or on behalf of the politicalparty, constituency association or candidate for whom the chief financial officer acts from aperson normally resident outside Alberta or from a prohibited corporation, or from a trade unionor employee organization other than a trade union or employee organization as defined in thisAct, the chief financial officer shall, within 30 days after learning of it, advise the Chief ElectoralOOut-of-province contributions 35(1) No registered party, registered constituency association orregistered candidate shall, directly or indirectly,(a) knowingly solicit or accept contributions from any person ordinarily resident outside Alberta,from any prohibited corporation or from a trade union or employee organization other than atrade union or employee organization as defined in this Act, or(b) contribute or transfer funds to any political party, constituency association or candidate notregistered under this Act, except that during an election under the Canada Elections Act (Canada)a registered party may transfer to a federal political party registered under the Canada ElectionsAct (Canada) an amount not exceeding, in the aggregate, $150 for each candidate at a federalelection in a federal electoral district in Alberta who is endorsed as a candidate by that federalparty.(2) In subsection (1), “during an election” has the meaning given to it in the Canada Elections Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 91
  • 92. Act (Canada).(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1)(b), a registered party may not contribute or transfer to afederal political party any funds that were contributed in respect of an election under theSenatorial Selection Act.(4) If the chief financial officer learns that a contribution was accepted by or on behalf of thepolitical party, constituency association or candidate for whom the chief financial officer actsfrom a person normally resident outside Alberta or from a prohibited corporation, or from a tradeunion or employee organization other than a trade union or employee organization as defined inthis Act, the chief financial officer shall, within 30 days after learning of it, advise the ChiefElectoral Officer in writing of the fact and circumstances.Funds from federal parties36 No registered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate may acceptfunds from a federal political party, electoral district association or registered candidateregistered under the Canada Elections Act (Canada), except that during a campaign period aregistered party may accept from a registered federal political party an amount not exceeding, inthe aggregate, $150 for each registered candidate endorsed by that registered party and thosefunds are not contributions for the purposes of this Act but must be recorded as to source anddeposited in an appropriate depository on record with the Chief Electoral Officer.Limits on contributions44.2(1) No election advertising contribution shall be made by aperson, corporation, trade union or employee organization to a thirdparty or used to incur election advertising expenses unless(a) the third party to whom the contribution is made isregistered under section 9.1, or(b) the third party is not required to be registered undersection 9.1.(2) No third party required to be registered under section 9.1 andno person acting for the third party required to be registered undersection 9.1 shall accept election advertising contributions unless thethird party is registered under section 9.1.(3) Subject to subsection (5), election advertising contributionsmade by any person, corporation, trade union or employeeorganization to third parties shall not exceed, in the aggregate,(a) $15 000 in any calendar year in which there is not ageneral election, or(b) $30 000 in any calendar year in which there is a generalelection, less any amount contributed under clause (a).(4) No third party and no person acting for a third party shallaccept any election advertising contributions if the third party orperson knows or ought to know that the amount would exceed thelimit referred to in subsection (3).(5) The following shall not make an election advertising Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 92
  • 93. contribution and no third party shall, directly or indirectly,knowingly accept an election advertising contribution from any ofthem:(a) a person ordinarily resident outside Alberta;(b) a prohibited corporation;(c) a registered charity within the meaning of subsection248(1) of the Income Tax Act (Canada);(d) a trade union or employee organization that is not a tradeunion or employee organization, as the case may be, asdefined in this Act.(6) If the chief financial officer of a third party learns that anelection advertising contribution was accepted in contravention ofthis section, the chief financial officer shall, within 30 days afterlearning of it, advise the Chief Electoral Officer in writing of thefact and circumstances.(7) A third party shall not circumvent or attempt to circumvent alimit set out in this section in any manner, including splitting itselfinto 2 or more third parties. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 93
  • 94. 2. Political Content of Media:Election Act135.2(1) The first person who transmits the results of an election survey, other than a surveydescribed in section 135.3, to the public during an election period and any person who transmitsthem to the public within 24 hours after they are first transmitted to the public shall provide thefollowing together with the results:(a) the name of the sponsor of the survey;(b) the name of the person or organization that conducted the survey;(c) the date on which or the period during which the survey was conducted;(d) the population from which the sample of respondents was drawn;(e) the number of people who were contacted to participate in the survey;(f) if applicable, the margin of error in respect of the data obtained.(2) In addition to the information referred to in subsection (1), the following must be provided inthe case of a transmission to the public by means other than broadcasting:the wording of the survey questions in respect of which data was obtained, andthe means by which a report referred to in subsection (3) may be obtained.(3) A sponsor of an election survey shall, at any time during an election period after the results ofthe survey are transmitted to the public, provide, on request, a copy of a written report on theresults of the survey, as transmitted under subsection (1).(4) The written report must include the following, as applicable:(a) the name and address of the sponsor of the survey;(b) the name and address of the person or organization that conducted the survey;(c) the date on which or the period during which the survey was conducted;(d) information about the method used to collect the data from which the survey results werederived, including(i) the sampling method,(ii) the population from which the sample was drawn,(iii) the size of the initial sample,(iv) the number of individuals who were asked to participate in the survey and the numbers andrespective percentages of them who participated in the survey, refused to participate in thesurvey, and were ineligible to participate in the survey,(v) the dates and time of day of the interviews,(vi) the method used to recalculate data to take into account in the survey the results ofparticipants who expressed no opinion, were undecided or failed to respond to any or all of thesurvey questions, and(vii) any weighting factors or normalization procedures used in deriving the results of the survey;(e) the wording of the survey questions and, if applicable, the margins of error in respect of thedata obtained.135.3 The first person who transmits the results of an election survey that is not based onrecognized statistical methods to the public during an election period and any person whotransmits them within 24 hours after they are first transmitted to the public shall indicate that the Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 94
  • 95. survey was not based on recognized statistical methods.135.4(1) No person shall knowingly cause to be transmitted to the public, in an electoral divisionon polling day before the close of all of the polling places in that electoral division, the results ofan election survey that have not previously been transmitted to the public.(2) No person shall transmit to the public, in an electoral division on polling day before the closeof all of the polling places in that electoral division, the results of an election survey that havenot previously been transmitted to the public.Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987PROGRAMMING CONTENT5. (1) A licensee shall not broadcast(a) anything in contravention of the law;(b) any abusive comment or abusive pictorial representation that, when taken in context, tends toor is likely to expose an individual or a group or class of individuals to hatred or contempt on thebasis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental orphysical disability;(c) any obscene or profane language or pictorial representation; or(d) any false or misleading news.POLITICAL BROADCASTS8. During an election period, a licensee shall allocate time for the broadcasting of programs,advertisements or announcements of a partisan political character on an equitable basis to allaccredited political parties and rival candidates represented in the election or referendum.Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure ActLimits on contributions 44.2(1) No election advertising contribution shall be made by aperson, corporation, trade union or employee organization to a third party or used to incurelection advertising expenses unless(a) the third party to whom the contribution is made is registered under section 9.1, or(b) the third party is not required to be registered under section 9.1.(2) No third party required to be registered under section 9.1 and no person acting for the thirdparty required to be registered under section 9.1 shall accept election advertising contributionsunless the third party is registered under section 9.1.Alberta Press Council, Code of PracticeCode Of PracticeNewspapers, periodicals and journalists have a duty to defend the freedom of the Press in theinterest of the public, and to resist censorship. Unethical conduct jeopardizes this objective.Accuracy1. It is the duty of the newspapers to avoid publishing inaccurate or misleading statements and Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 95
  • 96. further, it is the duty of newspapers to correct promptly, and with due prominence, significantinaccuracies or such misleading statements.Opportunity To Reply2. It is the duty of newspapers to allow a fair opportunity for reply when reasonably called for.Individuals and organizations should be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to reply to apersonal attack or criticism.Balance4. A newspaper has an obligation to make all reasonable efforts to pursue comment from anyperson or organization about whom it publishes, or plans to publish, damaging statements in anews story.Journalism Of Opinion5. Newspapers are free to exercise the widest possible latitude in expressing opinions, no matterhow controversial or unpopular the opinions may be. Columnists, editorial cartoonists and othersshould have the same latitude in expressing opinion, but when they present what purports to be astatement of fact, they should strive to ensure it is accurate. Journalists should clearly distinguishbetween comment and fact, and conjecture should not be expressed as a statement of fact.Opinions should be distinguishable from news stories.Newspapers should provide a forum for the exchange of comment and criticism, especially whensuch comment is opposed to its editorial position.Discrimination14. Newspapers should not publish material likely to encourage discrimination, in particular,discrimination based on the race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, sexualorientation, mental or physical disability, and should avoid reference to such matters inprejudicial or pejorative contexts unless they are directly relevant to the story.Confidential Sources17. Journalists have an obligation to protect confidential sources of information.New sources should be disclosed to readers in a news story unless there is a compelling reasonnot to do so. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 96
  • 97. 3. Candidate and Party Influence:Election Act4.2(1) For the purpose of carrying out an inquiry or conducting an investigation under this Act,the Chief Electoral Officer has all the powers of a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Actas though the inquiry or investigation were an inquiry under that Act.(2) For the purpose of carrying out an inquiry or conducting an investigation under this Act, arepresentative of the Chief Electoral Officer, on production of the representative’s authorizationfrom the Chief Electoral Officer, may at any reasonable time enter any premises referred to in theauthorization in which books or documents of a registered political party, registered constituencyassociation or registered candidate relevant to the subject-matter of the inquiry or investigationare kept and may examine and make copies of the books or documents or remove themtemporarily for the purpose of making copies.(3) Any information with respect to the affairs of a registered political party, registeredconstituency association or registered candidate that is reasonably required by the Chief ElectoralOfficer in the course of the Chief Electoral Officer’s duties under this Act must be provided bythe registered political party, registered constituency association or registered candidate within30 days after a written request for it is received from the Chief Electoral Officer or within anextended period that the Chief Electoral Officer may determine.(4) Subject to subsection (5), any former Chief Electoral Officer and every person who is or wasemployed or engaged by the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer shall maintain theconfidentiality of all information and allegations that come to their knowledge in the course of aninquiry or investigation.(5) Information and allegations to which subsection (4) applies may be disclosed to the personwhose conduct is the subject of proceedings under this Act; disclosed by a person conducting aninvestigation to the extent necessary to enable that person to obtain information from anotherperson; adduced in evidence at an inquiry under this section; disclosed where the Chief ElectoralOfficer believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure is necessary for the purpose ofadvising the Minister of Justice and Attorney General or a law enforcement agency of an allegedoffence under this Act or any other enactment of Alberta or an Act or regulation of Canada.5.1 No proceedings lie against the Chief Electoral Officer, oragainst a person acting for or under the direction of the Chief Electoral Officer, for anythingdone, or omitted to be done, in good faith in the exercise or performance or the intended exerciseor performance of a power, duty or function under this Act, the Election Finances andContributions Disclosure Act or the Senatorial Selection Act.24 The following persons may not be appointed or act as enumerators: (a) persons who are notelectors; (b) members of the Parliament of Canada; (c) members of the Legislative Assembly;(d) candidates; (e) official agents;(f) judges of federal or provincial courts;(g) persons who have within the immediately preceding 10 years been convicted of an indictableoffence for which the penalty that may be imposed is greater than 2 years’ imprisonment. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 97
  • 98. Part 3Elections, By-Elections and PlebiscitesGeneral election dates38.1(1) Nothing in this section affects the powers of theLieutenant Governor, including the power to dissolve theLegislature, in Her Majesty’s name, when the Lieutenant Governorsees fit.(2) Subject to subsection (1), a general election shall be heldwithin the 3-month period beginning on March 1, 2012 and endingon May 31, 2012, and afterwards, general elections shall be heldwithin the 3-month period beginning on March 1 and ending onMay 31 in the 4th calendar year following polling day in the mostrecent general election.Eligibility56 A person is eligible to be nominated as a candidate in anelection if on the day the person’s nomination paper is filed theperson(a) is a Canadian citizen, (b) is of the full age of 18 years or will be that age on pollingday,(c) has been ordinarily resident in Alberta continuously fromthe day 6 months immediately preceding polling day,(c.1) is registered under section 9 of the Election Finances andContributions Disclosure Act,(c.2) is not an inmate,(d) is not prohibited from being nominated as a candidateunder this Act or the Senatorial Selection Act by reason ofsection 57, 58, 178 or 181, and(e) is not a member of the Senate or House of Commons ofCanada.Prohibition against nomination57 A person is prohibited from being nominated as a candidate inan election if(a) the Speaker has laid a report before the Assemblypursuant to section 44(1) of the Election Finances andContributions Disclosure Act,(b) that person was the registered candidate or the chieffinancial officer of the registered candidate referred to inthe report,(c) the Court did not dispense with compliance with section Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 98
  • 99. 43(1) of that Act by an order under section 44(3) of thatAct, and(d) nomination day for the election occurs within(i) the 8-year period following the day on which theSpeaker laid the report before the Assembly, or(ii) where the financial statement has been filed with theChief Electoral Officer, the 5-year period followingthe day of filing, whichever period expires first.Prohibition against nomination58 A person is prohibited from being nominated as a candidate inan election if (a) that person has been declared disqualified frommembership of the Legislative Assembly pursuant tosection 29 of the Legislative Assembly Act or has beenexpelled from membership of the Legislative Assemblypursuant to section 29 of the Conflicts of Interest Act,(b) nomination day for the election occurs within the 8-yearperiod following the day on which the declaration ofdisqualification or expulsion was made, and(c) the cause of the disqualification under the LegislativeAssembly Act or of the breach under the Conflicts ofInterest Act has not been removed by nomination day.Nomination of candidates59(1) Any 25 or more electors of an electoral division maynominate a person eligible to be a candidate as a candidate for thatelectoral division by signing a nomination paper in the prescribedform.Filing nomination papers61(1)(iv) that the person is the officially endorsed candidate ofa registered political party or is an independentcandidate, and the confirmation is filed with the nomination paper,(e) it is accompanied with a deposit of $500,79(1) Each candidate may appoint in the prescribed form not morethan 4 electors resident in the electoral division as scrutineers(a) to represent the candidate at each polling station,(b) to observe the election procedures on the candidate’s behalf, and(c) to be present at the registration officer’s station while an elector is being sworn in undersection 95 Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 99
  • 100. (3) The names of the candidates shall be printed on the ballot as follows:(a) the candidate’s (i) given name,(i.1) middle name, (ii) initials, or (iii) nicknameor any combination of them in a type of 10 point capital letters;(b) the candidate’s surname shall appear following the given name, initials or nickname, as thecase may be, and be in a type of 12 point capital letters;(c) the candidates’ names shall be listed on the basis of the alphabetical order of their surnamesand, where 2 or more candidates have identical surnames, those candidates’ names shall be listedon the basis of the alphabetical order of their given names;Vote by Special Ballot116(1) An elector who is unable to vote at an advance poll or atthe poll on polling day on account of(a) physical incapacity,(b) absence from the electoral division,(c) being an inmate including a person sentenced to a term ofimprisonment of 10 days or less or for the non-payment of fines,(d) being a returning officer, election clerk, administrativeassistant, supervisory deputy returning officer, registrationofficer, deputy returning officer or other staff memberworking in the office of a returning officer, poll clerk,interpreter, peace officer appointed under the PeaceOfficer Act, candidate, official agent or scrutineer whomay be located on polling day at a polling place in apolling subdivision within the electoral division other thanthat in which the elector is ordinarily resident,(e) being a resident of a remote area designated under section 31, or(f) any other circumstances prescribed by the Chief ElectoralOfficer, may apply to vote by Special Ballot.(2) An application for a Special Ballot may be made(a) in writing,(b) by telephone,(c) by fax or electronic mail, or(d) in person,by an elector to the returning officer of the elector’s electoraldivision at any time between the issue of the writ and the closing ofpolls on polling day.Voting by Special Ballot118(1) On receipt of the prescribed forms, the voter shall mark theballot by writing, with a pen or pencil of any colour, in the spaceprovided, the name of the candidate or the registered political partyof the candidate of the voter’s choice.(2) After marking the voter’s ballot, the voter shall Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 100
  • 101. (a) place the marked ballot in the ballot envelope,(b) seal the ballot envelope,(c) place the ballot envelope in the certificate envelope,(c.1) place a copy of the prescribed identification document ordocuments in the certificate envelope,(d) complete and sign part 1 of the certificate and seal thecertificate envelope,(e) place the certificate envelope in the outer envelope, and(f) seal the outer envelope.(3) The outer envelope, when sealed, shall be forwarded so that itreaches the returning officer not later than the close of the pollingplaces on polling day.(4) On receipt of the outer envelope, the returning officer orelection clerk shall remove the certificate envelope and determine(a) whether the name on the certificate envelope is the sameAnnouncement of official results138(1) The returning officer shall attend at the place, date andtime stated in the election proclamation and announce the results ofthe official count and(a) declare elected the candidate who received the largestnumber of votes, or(b) if no candidate can be declared elected because there is anequality of votes for 2 or more candidates, declare that theresults of the election are subject to a judicial recountunder this Part.(2) The returning officer shall retain a copy of the Statement ofOfficial Results for a period of 10 days after announcing the resultsof the official count to allow for a possible judicial recount underthis Part.144(1) An application may be made to the Court in accordancewith this section for a judicial recount of some or all of the votes for an election.(2) Except as provided in subsection (5), an application may only be made on one or both of thefollowing bases:(a) that votes were not correctly accepted or ballots were not correctly rejected;(b) that a Certificate and Return does not accurately record the number of votes for a candidate.(3) An application must be filed not later than 8 days after the date the returning officerannounces the results of the official count under section 138 and on the filing of the application,the clerk of the Court shall set the date of the recount not later than the 10th day after the filingof the application.(4) The application may only be filed(a) by a candidate or the candidate’s official agent, or(b) by a returning officer in the case of a declaration made under section 138(1)(b). Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 101
  • 102. (5) The returning officer shall make an application under this section if a declaration has beenmade under section 138(1)(b).(6) At least 4 days’ notice of the time and place appointed for the recount shall be given by theapplicant(a) to the candidates, in the manner prescribed in section 68, and(b) to the returning officer, if the returning officer is not the applicant, and the election clerk.(7) A candidate served with notice under subsection (6) respecting a recount that is limited to arecount of votes that have been rejected or in respect of which there has been an objection may,not later than the 2nd day following service of the notice, make application for any furtherrecount as if the application had been made within the original 8-day period.147 On conclusion of a recount, the judge shall immediately certify the result to the returningofficer, who shall, on the 3rd day after the certification,(a) declare elected the candidate found to have received the largest number of votes, unless thereturning officer is served with a notice of appeal under section 148(1), or(b) declare that the results of the election are subject to an appeal under section 148(i) if the returning officer is served with a notice of appeal under section 148(1), or(ii) if no candidate can be declared elected because there is an equality of votes for 2 or morecandidates.148(1) Any party may appeal to the Court of Appeal from the decision of a judge of the Court ofQueen’s Bench respecting a recount under section 146 by serving the judge, the parties and thereturning officer with a notice of appeal not later than the 2nd day following the judge’scertification of the result.(2) The returning officer shall appeal if, after the results of a recount referred to in section 147, acandidate cannot be declared elected because there is an equality of votes for 2 or morecandidates.(3) A notice of appeal may limit the appeal to specified ballots.(4) If an appeal is limited to specified ballots, the judge shall(a) seal in a packet the ballots so specified, and(b) immediately forward the packet and the certified results to the Registrar of the Court ofAppeal.(5) If an appeal is not limited to specified ballots, the judge shall immediately forward all ballotsand relevant documentation to the Registrar of the Court of Appeal.(6) On receipt of the ballots and documents, the Registrar of the Court of Appeal shall set thematter down for hearing not later than the 10th day after the receipt, and shall notify the partiesand the returning officer accordingly.(7) At the conclusion of the appeal, the Court of Appeal shall declare the results of the election inaccordance with its recount and shall issue to the returning officer a certificate of those results.(8) On receipt of the certificate of results under subsection (7), the returning officer shall(a) declare elected the candidate found to have received the largest number of votes, or(b) if no candidate can be declared elected because there is an equality of votes for 2 or morecandidates, declare that no member was elected for the electoral division. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 102
  • 103. 148.1(1) If a recount is conducted or an appeal is heard under thisPart, the court may direct(a) that the parties bear their own costs, or(b) that costs be paid to one or more of the parties by any or all of the following:(i) (ii) (iii)the applicant; one or more of the candidates; the Crown in right of Alberta.(2) Costs must be determined in accordance with the Alberta Rules of Court and the practice andprocedure of the Court of Queen’s Bench or the Court of Appeal, as the case may be.152(1) A candidate and the candidate’s official agent, or either ofthem, may for a period of 30 days after the publication in The Alberta Gazette of the name of thecandidate declared elected in the relevant electoral division, inspect any election documents,except ballots, retained by the Chief Electoral Officer and pertaining to the election in thatelectoral division.OffencesGeneral offence154(1) A person who contravenes this Act other than(a) a contravention referred to in sections 155 to 161, or(b) a corrupt practice referred to in Part 6,is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $500.(2) An offence under this Part shall be tried in The ProvincialCourt of Alberta under the summary conviction procedure.Refusal by election officer to carry out duties155 A person who, having been appointed an election officer andhaving taken the election officer’s oath of office, neglects orrefuses to perform any duty to be performed by that election officeris guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than(a) $500, in the case of a returning officer, and(b) $200, in the case of any other election officer.Part 5OffencesGeneral offence154(1) A person who contravenes this Act other than(a) a contravention referred to in sections 155 to 161, or(b) a corrupt practice referred to in Part 6,is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $500.(2) An offence under this Part shall be tried in The ProvincialCourt of Alberta under the summary conviction procedure.Refusal by election officer to carry out duties155 A person who, having been appointed an election officer and Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 103
  • 104. having taken the election officer’s oath of office, neglects orrefuses to perform any duty to be performed by that election officeris guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than(a) $500, in the case of a returning officer, and(b) $200, in the case of any other election officer.Impersonation157(1) A person who is not an enumerator and who represents thatthe person is an enumerator or displays any identificationpurporting to be an enumerator’s identification documents is guiltyof an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $1000.(2) A person who is not an election officer and who represents thatthe person is an election officer is guilty of an offence and liable toa fine of not more than $1000.(3) A person who is not a candidate and who represents that theperson is a candidate is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine ofnot more than $1000.(4) A person who is not a campaign worker of a candidate and whorepresents that the person is a campaign worker of a candidate isguilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $1000.Interference with right of access158 A person who contravenes section 29(3) or 133(3) is guilty ofan offence and liable to a fine of not more than $1000.Interference with posted documents159 A person who, without authorization, takes down, covers up,mutilates, defaces or alters any proclamation, notice or otherdocument required to be posted under this Act is guilty of anoffence and liable(a) if the person is an election officer, to a fine of not morethan $1000, and(b) in any other case, to a fine of not more than $200.False statements about candidate160 A person who, before or during an election and for thepurpose of affecting the voting for a candidate at that election,makes or publishes any false statement in relation to the characteror conduct of that candidate or of the withdrawal of that candidate,is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $2000.Improper appointment of election officer161 A person who(a) procures an appointment as an election officer by false pretence, deceit or other improper Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 104
  • 105. means,(a.1) knows or ought to know that he or she is ineligible to beappointed or to act as an election officer, or(b) acts as an election officer without lawful authority,is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fineof not more than $1000.Entertaining162(1) A person who, because an elector has voted or is about tovote, or for the purpose of influencing an elector to vote for oragainst a particular candidate or registered political party, causes orpermits any(a) food or beverages, or(b) money, ticket, voucher or order for the procurement offood or beverages,to be provided to an elector is guilty of an offence and liable to afine of not more than $500.(2) The provision of food or beverages(a) by or at the expense of a person to a meeting of electors atthe person’s usual place of residence, if that residence is aprivate home,(b) to a meeting of electors, if the food or beverages are paidfor by those electors, or(c) by or on behalf of a candidate(i) to the candidate’s campaign workers or to any personacting as a scrutineer on behalf of the candidate, or(ii) to persons who attend at the candidate’s campaignheadquarters,is deemed not to be a contravention of subsection (1).Offence re use of information163 Any person who(a) uses any information obtained from the register for apurpose other than that referred to in section 13(1), (7) or(8),(b) uses any information provided to, or obtained by, theChief Electoral Officer under section 13(2) other than forthe purpose of creating or revising the register,(c) uses any information obtained under section 30 other thanfor the purpose of the enumeration, or(d) contravenes section 20,is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than$100 000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one yearor to both fine and imprisonment. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 105
  • 106. Consent to prosecute163.1(1) No prosecution shall be instituted under this Act withoutthe consent of the Chief Electoral Officer.(2) A prosecution under this Act may be commenced within 3years of the commission of the alleged offence but not afterwards.Part 6Corrupt PracticesImproper practices164 A person commits a corrupt practice who wilfully(a) alters, defaces or destroys a ballot or the initials of thedeputy returning officer on a ballot,(b) without authority supplies a ballot to any person,(c) places in a ballot box a paper other than the ballot that theperson is authorized by law to place in it,(d) delivers to the deputy returning officer any paper otherthan the ballot given to the person by the deputy returningofficer, to be placed in the ballot box,(e) takes a ballot out of the polling place, (f) without authority destroys, takes, opens or damages aballot box or book or packet of ballots or a ballot in use orused for the purposes of an election,(g) being a deputy returning officer, puts the deputy returningofficer’s initials on the back of any paper that is not butpurports to be, or is capable of being used as, a ballot at anelection,(h) prints a ballot when not authorized under this Act to doso,(i) prints a document that purports to be, or is capable ofbeing used as, a ballot at an election, or(j) being authorized by the returning officer to print theballots for an election, with fraudulent intent prints moreballots than the person is authorized to print.False statements re list of electors165 A person commits a corrupt practice who wilfully makes afalse statement for the purpose of inducing an enumerator or areturning officer(a) to omit the name of any person entitled to have theperson’s name entered on the list of electors, or(b) to insert or retain on the list of electors the name of anyperson who is not entitled to have the person’s name soinserted or retained. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 106
  • 107. Interference with voting secrecy166 A person commits a corrupt practice who,(a) being entitled to remain in a polling place during pollinghours or to be present during counting of the ballots, failsto maintain or aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting,or(b) contravenes section 105 or 106(2) or (3).Fraudulent voting167 A person commits a corrupt practice who(a) votes or attempts to vote when the person knows or oughtto know that the person is not qualified to vote,(b) signs a false declaration under section 95, 99(1) or 104 ortakes a false oath,(c) induces or procures, attempts to induce or procure, or aidsand abets any other person to vote or attempt to vote,when the person knows or ought to know that the otherperson is not qualified to vote.Falsification of documents168 An election officer or other person(a) whose duty it is to deliver poll books or lists of electors,or(b) who has the custody of a certified list of electors,who in any way wilfully falsifies the certified list, list of electors orpoll book, commits a corrupt practice.Wilful falsification of ballot count169 An election officer who intentionally miscounts the ballots orin any other manner falsifies a count commits a corrupt practice.Betting170 A person who, for the purpose of influencing an election,makes a bet on(a) the result of the election or a portion of it, or(b) any event or contingency relating to the electioncommits a corrupt practice.Provision of time to vote171 An employer who directly or indirectly(a) refuses to allow, or(b) by intimidation, undue influence or in any other mannerinterferes with the allowance of, Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 107
  • 108. an employee to have the period of absence for voting requiredunder section 132 commits a corrupt practice.Improper inducement172(1) A person commits a corrupt practice who, either personallyor by any other person on the person’s behalf, in order to induce anelector to vote or not to vote or to vote for or not to vote for aparticular candidate(a) offers, gives, lends or promises to offer, give or lend orpromises to procure or attempts to procure any money orother valuable consideration to or for the elector or anyperson on behalf of the elector or to or for any otherperson,(b) gives, procures or promises to give or procure or attemptsto procure any office, position or employment to or for theelector or any other person, or(c) does any act referred to in clause (a) or (b) in order toreward any person for having voted or not having voted.(2) A person commits a corrupt practice who, either personally orby any other person on the person’s behalf, solicits from anycandidate or official agent(a) a gift or loan of any money or other valuableconsideration,(b) a promise to give or lend money or other valuableconsideration,(c) any office, position or employment, or(d) a promise to give or procure any office, position oremployment,as a reward for agreeing to vote or not to vote, voting or not voting,agreeing to vote for a particular candidate or procuring orattempting to procure the election of the candidate.(3) A person commits a corrupt practice who does one or more ofthe following:(a) procures, promises to procure or attempts to procure theelection of any candidate on, or as a result of, any actreferred to in subsection (1);(b) causes any money to be advanced or paid to any personwith the intent that all or any portion of the money beexpended on any corrupt practice;(c) knowingly causes any money to be paid in settlement orrepayment of money expended in whole or in part on anycorrupt practice;(d) before or during an election either personally or by anyother person on the person’s behalf, receives, agrees to Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 108
  • 109. receive or contracts for(i) any money or other valuable consideration, whetherby gift or loan, or(ii) any office, position or employment,to or for the person or any other person because of or as areward for voting or not voting, or for agreeing to vote ornot to vote;(e) after an election, either personally or by any other personon the person’s behalf, receives any money or othervaluable consideration because of and as a reward for(i) having voted or not having voted at an election, or(ii) having induced any other person to vote or not voteat an election;(f) in order to induce a person(i) to allow the person to be nominated as a candidate,(ii) to refuse to allow the person to be nominated as acandidate, or(iii) to withdraw the person’s nomination as a candidate,either gives or procures, agrees to give or procure orattempts to procure any office, position or employment forany person.Wilful damage to poll book173 A person who wilfully causes a poll book to be damaged,destroyed or obliterated commits a corrupt practice.Multiple voting174 A person commits a corrupt practice who(a) applies at an election for a ballot in the name of anotherperson, whether living or dead, or of a fictitious person,(b) having already voted, applies at the same election for aballot in the person’s own name, or(c) votes more than once at the same election.Undue influence175(1) A person commits a corrupt practice who,(a) either personally or by any other person on the person’sbehalf,(i) uses or threatens to use force or restraint,(ii) inflicts or threatens to inflict harm or loss, or(iii) in any manner practises intimidation,on or against an elector in order to induce or compel theelector to vote or not to vote, or on account of the electorhaving voted or not having voted, or Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 109
  • 110. (b) by abduction, duress or any false or fraudulent pretence ordevice(i) prevents or interferes with the free exercise of thefranchise of an elector, or(ii) induces or prevails on an elector to vote or refrainfrom voting.(2) It is a false pretence within the meaning of this section torepresent to an elector directly or indirectly that the ballot to beused or the mode of voting at an election is not secret.Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act176 A person who contravenes section 45, 46 or 47 of theElection Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act commits acorrupt practice.Corrupt practice offence177(1) A person who commits a corrupt practice is guilty of anoffence and liable to a fine of not more than $5000 or toimprisonment for not more than 2 years or to both fine andimprisonment.(2) An offence under this Part shall be tried in the Court ofQueen’s Bench under the summary conviction procedure.Corrupt practice by candidate178(1) If the Court finds that an elected candidate is guilty of acorrupt practice or that a corrupt practice was committed with theknowledge and consent of the elected candidate, the Court shalldeclare the election in which the candidate was elected void.(2) If the Court finds that a candidate, other than the electedcandidate, is guilty of a corrupt practice or that a corrupt practicewas committed with the knowledge and consent of the candidate,the Court shall send a report of its findings to the Chief ElectoralOfficer and, subject to subsection (3), may declare the election inwhich the candidate was nominated void.(3) The Court may confirm the election of a candidate in relation towhich the Court finds that a corrupt practice was committed byanother candidate if the Court is satisfied that(a) the elected candidate did not also commit a corruptpractice,(b) the corrupt practice of the other candidate was notcommitted with the knowledge and consent of the electedcandidate, and(c) the corrupt practice of the other candidate did notmaterially affect the results of the election. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 110
  • 111. (4) During the 8 years immediately following the date on whichthe Chief Electoral Officer receives the report of the Court undersubsection (1) or (2), the candidate who is the subject of the reportis, subject to subsection (5), prohibited from(a) being nominated as a candidate under this Act,(b) being elected to any public office under any other Act,(c) being entered on any list of electors,(d) being registered as an elector,(e) voting at an election, and(f) holding any office at the nomination of the Crown.(5) If the Court finds that(a) a corrupt practice was committed by a candidate, or byany other person with the knowledge and consent of acandidate,(b) the corrupt practice was committed without any corruptintent and in ignorance that was excusable in thecircumstances, and(c) the candidate honestly desired and attempted as far asreasonably possible to have the election conductedaccording to law,the Court shall make an order declaring that the prohibitionsreferred to in subsection (4) do not apply to the candidate.Corrupt practice by candidate’s official agent179(1) If the Court finds that a candidate’s official agent is guiltyof committing a corrupt practice, the Court shall send a report of itsfindings to the Chief Electoral Officer and, subject to subsection(2), shall declare the election void.(2) The Court shall not make an order declaring that the election ofa candidate is void by reason of the corrupt practice of an officialagent if the Court is satisfied that(a) the candidate did not commit a corrupt practice,(b) the corrupt practice was not committed with theknowledge and consent of the official agent’s candidate,and(c) the corrupt practice of the official agent did not materiallyaffect the results of the election.Corrupt practice by non-candidate181(1) Subject to subsection (2), if a person other than a candidateis found guilty of committing a corrupt practice, the Court shallsend a report of its findings to the Chief Electoral Officer and thatperson is, during the 8 years immediately following the date onwhich the Chief Electoral Officer receives the report of the Court, Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 111
  • 112. subject to the same prohibitions to which a candidate is liable undersection 178(4).(2) If the Court finds that the corrupt practice committed by aperson referred to in subsection (1)(a) was done without any corrupt intent and in an ignorancethat was excusable in the circumstances,(b) was a mere technical contravention of this Part, or(c) was an unintentional contravention of this Part,the Court shall make an order declaring that the prohibitionsreferred to in section 178(2) do not apply to that person.Payments not constituting corrupt practice182(1) The following payments made by a candidate do notconstitute a corrupt practice or an improper payment:(a) reasonable rent or hire of halls or other places used by acandidate personally to address public meetings ofelectors, and the expenses incurred in(i) providing equipment or services to be used in respectof the meeting, and(ii) heating, lighting and cleaning the premises rented;(b) reasonable, ordinary and necessary travelling and livingexpenses of the candidate;(c) reasonable, ordinary and necessary travelling and livingexpenses of one speaker for each public meeting to beaddressed by the candidate if the speaker accompanies thecandidate and travels with the candidate for the purpose ofso speaking;(d) reasonable and ordinary charges for the hire ofconveyances for the use of the candidate in travelling toand from public meetings and in canvassing in theelectoral division and reasonable and ordinary charges forthe services and maintenance of a person operating theconveyance.(2) The onus is on the candidate to show that the campaignexpenses paid by the candidate under subsection (1) were fair,reasonable and proper and not in excess of what is ordinarily paidfor similar facilities, services and goods.(3) The contracting for or the receipt of ordinary and reasonablecharges(a) by the owner or possessor of a hall or other place in whichto hold bona fide public meetings for purposes related tothe election,(b) by a printer for printing lists of electors, election addressesor advertisements or notices of election meetings, or Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 112
  • 113. (c) by any person for the hire of transportation used inconnection with and for the proper purposes of theelection,is lawful and does not disqualify the owner, printer or other personfrom voting.Effect of previous corrupt practices183(1) If an election is void due to one or more corrupt practicesbeing committed and a 2nd election is held, the 2nd election is anew election and is not to be considered void by reason of corruptpractices committed at the former election except for those corruptpractices that were(a) the personal acts of the candidate, or(b) the personal acts of the candidate’s official agent donewith the candidate’s knowledge and consent.(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the new election is not to beconsidered void for corrupt practices by the candidate at the formerelection if the corrupt practices were not proved at a trial and soadjudged by the Court so as to make applicable the prohibitionsspecified in section 178.Part 7Controverted ElectionsFiling of petition185(1) A petition may be filed with the Court in accordance withthis Part to void an election by reason of the undue return or undueelection of a candidate as the member of the Legislative Assemblyfor an electoral division.(2) The petition(a) may be filed only by(i) a candidate defeated in the election, or(ii) a person who on the polling day of the election wasqualified to vote at the election,(b) except as provided in clause (c), shall be filed with theCourt within 30 days after the date of the issue of TheAlberta Gazette containing the notice published pursuantto section 149, and(c) may be filed with the Court at any time during thecontinuation of the Legislative Assembly of which theelected candidate is a member, if the grounds for thepetition relate only to the eligibility of the respondent as acandidate at the time of the filing of the candidate’snomination paper. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 113
  • 114. Petition186(1) The petition(a) may be in the prescribed form;(b) shall within the time prescribed by section 185 be filed atthe judicial centre located in the electoral division or, ifthere is none, at the judicial centre closest to the electoraldivision;(c) shall contain the following statements:(i) the right of the petitioner to petition;(ii) the holding and result of the election in generalterms;(iii) in a brief form the facts and grounds relied on tosustain the prayer; (d) shall conclude with a prayer that the election be declaredvoid and set aside.(2) No person, other than the candidate whose election ischallenged, shall be named as a respondent in the petition.Security for costs187 The petitioner shall at the time the petitioner files the petitiondeposit with the clerk the sum of $1000 as security for therespondent’s costs of and incidental to the petition and theproceedings under the petition.Address for service189(1) The petitioner shall endorse on the petition an address forservice, which shall not be more than 5 kilometres from the clerk’soffice, at which all summonses, notices, demands and other papersin the proceedings may be served on the petitioner, and in defaultof the petitioner doing so the summonses, notices, demands andother papers in the proceedings may be served on the petitioner bybeing filed with the clerk. (2) The respondent shall, within 10 days after being served withthe petition, file with the clerk a notice in writing specifying anaddress for service, which shall not be more than 5 kilometres fromthe clerk’s office, at which all summonses, notices, demands andother papers in the proceedings may be served on the respondent,and in default of the respondent doing so the summonses, notices,demands and other papers may be served on the respondent bybeing filed with the clerk.Time and place of trial192(1) At any time after the petition is at issue the petitioner mayapply to the Court to appoint a time and place for the trial of thepetition, and the Court, on being satisfied that the petition is at Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 114
  • 115. issue, shall appoint a time and place for trial.(2) A petition is at issue when all other orders on applicationsunder sections 190 and 191 have been made, whether granting orrefusing the applications, or if no applications have been madewhen the time for making those applications has expired.Application to dismiss petition193 If the petitioner does not within one month after the petitionis at issue apply to the Court to appoint a time and place for thetrial of the petition, the respondent may apply to the Court todismiss the petition, and the Court may either dismiss the petitionor appoint a time and place for the trial of the petition.Rules of Court apply194 The petition and all proceedings under it is deemed to be acause in the Court and all the provisions of the Alberta Rules ofCourt insofar as they are applicable and not inconsistent with theprovisions of this Part, including the tariff of costs for clerks,sheriffs, civil enforcement agencies, civil enforcement bailiffs,solicitors and counsel and interpreters, apply to the petition andproceedings.Admission of undue election197(1) The respondent may at any time admit that the respondentwas unduly returned or elected by filing with the clerk a statementin writing admitting that fact and consenting to the entry of ajudgment declaratory of that fact and by serving the petitioner witha notice that the statement has been filed.(2) If a statement is filed under subsection (1), the petitioner mayenter a formal judgment declaring the election void, and if thepetitioner so desires directing the respondent to pay the petitioner’scosts of and incidental to the petition, and on the judgment beingentered, the Court shall send a report of the facts to the ChiefElectoral Officer, and on the receipt of it by the Chief ElectoralOfficer, the election is void and a writ of election shall issue to fillthe vacancy so created.Costs198(1) Except when otherwise provided by this Part, the costs ofthe petition and all matters incidental to it and arising out of it areto be dealt with in the same manner as in any ordinary civil matterbefore the Court.(2) If the judge at any time orders costs to be paid by thepetitioner, the judge may, when the petition and all matters arising Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 115
  • 116. out of it have been finally determined and disposed of, order thecosts to be paid out of the money deposited by the petitioner onfiling the petition, but nothing in this subsection is to be construedas preventing the respondent from proceeding at any time torecover any costs that may have been awarded to the respondentaccording to the ordinary practice of the Court.Appeals199(1) An appeal lies to the Court of Appeal from any order,direction or determination of the judge and from any judgmententered in pursuance of it, and the appeal and all proceedingsrelating to it shall be had and taken, and the Court of Appeal shall,subject to this Part, deal with the appeal in the same manner asappeals in civil matters from the Court of Queen’s Bench.(2) If the appeal is from an order or determination of a judge, otherthan the judgment entered on the trial of petition, the notice ofappeal shall be filed and served within 10 days from the entry ofthe judgment or order and it does not operate as a stay ofproceedings unless so ordered by the judge.(3) If a judge orders a stay of proceedings under subsection (2), thejudge may do so on any terms the judge thinks just, and the judgemay in making the order, or afterwards by separate order, fix thetime for doing any act required or authorized by this Part to bedone, the time for doing which has been fixed without reference toan appeal, and the judge or any other judge may for reasonablecause at any time set aside or modify any stay of proceedings thathas been ordered under this section. (4) If the appeal is from any finding, determination or judgmentunder section 195 or 197, the appellant shall file and serve theappellant’s notice of appeal within 14 days after the filing of thedirections for judgment and shall, before the expiration of thatperiod, apply ex parte to the judge for a stay of proceedings, andthe judge on being satisfied that the notice of appeal has been dulygiven shall make an order staying proceedings.(5) After a stay of proceedings has been made, the appeal shallproceed and be dealt with in the same manner and is subject to thesame rules as an ordinary appeal in a civil action.(6) The costs of the appeal shall be dealt with in the same manneras in any ordinary civil appeal before the Court of Appeal.Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure ActPart 2Registration Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 116
  • 117. Qualifications for registration6(1) No political party and no person acting for a political partymay accept contributions for the political party or for anyconstituency association of that party unless the political party isregistered under this Act.(2) Any political party that(a) held a minimum of 3 seats in the Legislative Assemblyfollowing the most recent election,(b) endorsed candidates nominated in at least 50% of theelectoral divisions in the most recent general election,(c) endorses candidates in at least 50% of the electoraldivisions following the issue of a writ of election for ageneral election, or(d) at any time, other than during a campaign period, providesthe Chief Electoral Officer with the names, addresses andsignatures of persons who(i) represent 0.3% of the number of electors eligible tovote at the last general election,(ii) are currently eligible to vote in an election, and(iii) request the registration of that political party,is, subject to subsection (3), qualified for registration in the registerof political parties.(3) A political party shall not be registered under this Act unlessthe Chief Electoral Officer is satisfied that prior to filing anapplication for registration the party has established a non-profitcorporation or trust as a foundation for the purposes of receivingand managing the assets, except the premises, equipment, suppliesand other such property required for the administration of theaffairs of the party, held by the political party immediately prior tofiling the application.(4) The assets of a foundation established under subsection (3)shall consist of funds either on deposit with a financial institutionor invested in accordance with the Trustee Act.(5) No funds or other property may be received by or transferred toa foundation after the filing of an application for registration of thepolitical party that established the foundation except for interest onthe funds on deposit or the income from investments referred to insubsection (4).(6) Each foundation shall file with the Chief Electoral Officer onor before April 1 in each year a report of the expenditures of thatfoundation during the previous year.Registration of political parties 7(1) The Chief Electoral Officer shall maintain a register ofpolitical parties and, subject to this section, shall register in it any political party that is qualified Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 117
  • 118. to be registered and that files with the Chief Electoral Officer an application for registrationsetting out(a) the full name of the political party;(b) the political party name or the abbreviation of it to be shown in election documents;(c) the name of the leader of the political party;(d) the address of the place or places where records of the political party are maintained and ofthe place to which communications may be addressed;(e) the names of the principal officers of the political party;(f) the name of the chief financial officer of the political party;(g) the name and address of the financial institutions to be used by the political party as thedepositories for (h) all contributions made to that political party;(i) the names of the political party’s signing officers responsible for each depository referred to inclause (g);an indication of the provision of section 6(2) under which the political party qualified forregistration;a statement of the assets and liabilities of the political party as of a date not earlier than 90 daysprior to the date of its application for registration attested to by its chief financial officer.(2) On receipt of an application for registration of a political party, the Chief Electoral Officershall examine the application and determine if the political party is entitled to be registered and(a) if the political party is entitled to be registered, enter it in the register of political parties andso inform the political party, or(b) if the political party is not entitled to be registered, so inform the political party with writtenreasons for the determination.(2.1) The Chief Electoral Officer may refuse to register a political party that proposes to bequalified under section 6(2)(d) if the information provided under that clause is submitted to theChief Electoral Officer less than 60 days before the start of a campaign period.(3) The Chief Electoral Officer shall not register a political party if, in the Chief ElectoralOfficer’s opinion,(a) the name or the abbreviation of the name of the applying party so nearly resembles the nameor abbreviation of the name of a registered party as to be likely to be confused with the name orabbreviation of that registered party,(a.1) the proposed name was the name of a registered political party whose registration wascancelled or whose name was changed since the last general election, or(b) the proposed name or abbreviation is unacceptable to the Chief Electoral Officer for anyother reason.Service AlbertaStructure of government:The provincial government is similar in structure to the federal government. One majordifference is the lack of a senate – all provincial legislation is approved by the LieutenantGovernor, Alberta’s representative of the Queen. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 118
  • 119. Alberta’s government is made up of the Legislative Assembly, with elected officials known asMembers of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). The province’s leader is known as the Premier.Like the federal Prime Minster, this position is awarded to the leader of the political party withthe most seats in the Legislature.Key decisions are made by Alberta’s cabinet, chaired by the Premier and comprised of MLAsfrom the political party with the majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly.Proposed Electoral Division Areas, Boundaries, and Namesfor AlbertaTHE LAWThe Act directs the Commission to divide the province into 87 electoral divisions, with apopulation within 25% of the provincial average, in a way that will ensure effectiverepresentation for Albertans.The Act provides as follows:13 The Commission shall divide Alberta into 87 proposed electoral divisions.RSA 2000 cE-3 s13;2009 c19 s415(1) The population of a proposed electoral division must not be more than 25%above nor more than 25% below the average population of all the proposedelectoral divisions.To assist in ensuring effective representation, the Act also provides that up to four specialconsideration electoral divisions may have populations as much as 50% below the provincialaverage:15(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), in the case of no more than 4 of the proposedelectoral divisions, if the Commission is of the opinion that at least 3 of thefollowing criteria exist in a proposed electoral division, the proposed electoraldivision may have a population that is as much as 50% below the average populationof all the proposed electoral divisions:a) the area of the proposed electoral division exceeds 20,000 square kilometres orthe total surveyed area of the proposed electoral division exceeds 15,000 squarekilometres;b) the distance from the Legislature Building in Edmonton to the nearestboundary of the proposed electoral division by the most direct highway routeis more than 150 kilometres;c) there is no town in the proposed electoral division that has a populationexceeding 8,000 people;d) the area of the proposed electoral division contains an Indian Reserve or aMetis Settlement;e) the proposed electoral division has a portion of its boundary coterminous witha boundary of the Province of Alberta.(3) For the purpose of subsection (2)(c), The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass is not atown.The Act also references the guarantee of effective representation found in the Canadian Charter Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 119
  • 120. of Rights and Freedoms and lists factors which must be considered.In determining the area to be included in and in fixing the boundaries of theproposed electoral divisions, the Commission, subject to section 15, may takeinto consideration any factors it considers appropriate, but shall take intoconsideration(a) the requirement for effective representation as guaranteed by theCanadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,(b) sparsity and density of population,(c) common community interests and community organizations, includingthose of Indian reserves and Metis settlements,(d) wherever possible, the existing community boundaries within the citiesof Edmonton and Calgary,(e) wherever possible, the existing municipal boundaries,(f) the number of municipalities and other local authorities,(g) geographical features, including existing road systems, and(h) the desirability of understandable and clear boundaries.Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: “Every citizen of Canada hasthe right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assemblyand to be qualified for membership therein.”The leading Canadian judicial authority on the meaning of this section is the Supreme Court ofCanada’s 1991 decision in the Saskatchewan Reference case. In the decision, Madame JusticeMcLachlin described the issue before the Court as a contest between two competing values –equality of voting power and effective representation.She stated:What are the conditions of effective representation? The first is relative parity ofvoting power. A system which dilutes one citizen’s vote unduly as compared withanother citizen’s vote runs the risk of providing inadequate representation to thecitizen whose vote is diluted.She concluded that: “the purpose of the right to vote enshrined in s. 3 of the Charter is notequality of voting power per se, but the right to ‘effective representation’.”She stated:Factors like geography, community history, community interests and minorityrepresentation may need to be taken into account to ensure that our legislativeassemblies effectively represent the diversity of our social mosaic. These are butexamples of considerations which may justify departure from absolute voter parity inthe pursuit of more effective representation; the list is not closed.In summary, the principles of effective representation seem to the Commission to be asfollows:1. Relative parity of voting power. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 120
  • 121. 2. The tradition in Canada is “effective representation,” not absolute parity as in the U.S.3. The process of achieving effective representation may involve diluting the political force ofsome votes but not unduly and not without reason.4. The balancing of these interests is a delicate one, which involves an examination in depth ofthe social history, geography and demography of communities in every sense of the word. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 121
  • 122. 4. Voter Influence:Election Act(3) The ordinary residence of an inmate who is an elector is the first of the following places forwhich the inmate knows the address:(a) his or her residence before being incarcerated;(b) the residence of his or her spouse or adult interdependent partner, a relative or a dependant ofthe inmate, a relative of his or her spouse or adult interdependent partner or a person with whomthe inmate would live but for his or her incarceration;(c) the place of his or her arrest;(d) the last court where the inmate was convicted and sentenced.16 Subject to section 45, a person is eligible to have the person’sname included on a list of electors if that person as of a date fixed by the Chief Electoral Officer(a) is a Canadian citizen,(b) is at least 18 years of age,(c) has been or will have been ordinarily resident in Alberta for at least 6 months as of that date,and(d) is ordinarily resident in the electoral division and subdivision for which that person is to havethe person’s name included on the list of electors.78(1) An interpreter may be appointed in the prescribed form to translate questions and answersabout voting procedures for persons not conversant in the English language.(2) An interpreter shall be appointed(a) by a returning officer, or(b) by a deputy returning officer where the appointment is forone or more temporary periods during polling day.88(1) Subject to subsection (3), polling places shall be open for the purpose of voting during thefollowing hours only:(a) at an advance poll, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.;(b) at treatment centres and supportive living facilities where mobile polls are held, during thehours fixed by the returning officer;(c) at the taking of the poll on polling day, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.59(2) No voting shall be permitted before the opening of a polling place.(3) At closing time the entrance to each polling place shall be closed, and only those persons whoare inside the polling place at that time shall be permitted to vote after the closing time.91(1) Each polling station shall contain one or more pollingbooths arranged so that when a voter is in the polling booth the voter is screened fromobservation and may mark the voter’s ballot without interference. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 122
  • 123. 93(1) All persons referred to in section 92(1) shall take the prescribed oath of secrecy beforeperforming their duties under that section and shall aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting.(2) If an election officer suspects that any contravention of the law governing secrecy in relationto voting has occurred, the election officer shall as soon as possible advise the returning officer,who shall immediately notify the Chief Electoral Officer.94(1) Every returning officer, supervisory deputy returningofficer, registration officer and deputy returning officer, from the time that officer takes thatofficer’s oath of office until completion of the duties of that office,(a)is charged with preserving the peace at polling places, (b) is vested with all the powers of ajustice of the peace, and (c) may(i) request the assistance of justices of the peace, peace officers or any persons present to aid thatofficer in maintaining peace and order at an election;(ii) repealed 2006 cP-3.5 s35;(iii) arrest or cause to be arrested and placed in the custody of a peace officer or other personanyone disturbing the peace or order at an election;(iv) cause an arrested person to be imprisoned on that officer’s written order until a time not laterthan the close of a poll.(2) When requested to do so under subsection (1)(c), a peace officer shall forthwith attend on andassist the person making the request in the performance of the person’s powers under thatsubsection.(3) No person shall in any manner (a) create a disturbance, or (b) disrupt the proceedingsat a polling place on polling day.Voter assistance96(1) The deputy returning officer, at the request of a voter who isunable to vote in the usual manner due to a physical incapacity orinability to read the ballot, shall(a) assist the voter by marking the voter’s ballot in themanner directed by the voter in the presence of the pollclerk, and(b) if requested by the voter, place the ballot so marked in theballot box.(2) Repealed 2004 c23 s49.(3) The deputy returning officer, in the case of a voter referred toin subsection (1), shall(a) if the voter is accompanied by a friend,(i) permit the friend to accompany the voter into apolling booth to mark the voter’s ballot, and(ii) if requested by the voter or the friend, place theballot in the ballot box,or(b) if the voter is a blind voter and is not accompanied by afriend or does not wish to be assisted by the deputy Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 123
  • 124. returning officer,(i) provide the voter with a Blind Voter Template in theprescribed form, and(ii) instruct the voter in its use.(4) A voter referred to in subsection (1) and the friend of such avoter, if assisting the voter to vote, shall both take the prescribedoath before voting.(5) When a ballot has been marked pursuant to this section, thedeputy returning officer or poll clerk shall enter in the poll bookopposite the name of the voter and in the appropriate column either“voter assistance” or “template”, as the case may be.103 Immediately after a voter’s ballot is deposited in the ballotbox the poll clerk shall enter in the poll book opposite the name of the voter and in theappropriate column a check mark or other annotation indicating that the voter has voted.105(1) No person may(a) interfere or attempt to interfere with a voter who is attempting to mark the voter’s ballot,(b) attempt to obtain any information at a polling place regarding which candidate a voter hasvoted for, is voting for or is about to vote for, or(c) prevent or attempt to prevent a person from exercising the person’s right to vote.(2) No person may communicate any information obtained at a polling place regarding whichcandidate a voter has voted for, is voting for or is about to vote for.106(1) While a voter is in a polling booth for the purpose ofmarking the voter’s ballot, no other person may, except as permitted in section 96, enter thepolling booth or be in a position from which the person can see for whom the voter marks thevoter’s ballot.(2) No person may directly or indirectly induce or attempt to induce a voter to show the voter’sballot after the voter has marked it so as to allow the name of the candidate for whom the voterhas voted to be known.(3) Except as provided in section 96, a voter shall not show the voter’s ballot, after the voter hasmarked it, to any person so as to allow the name of the candidate for whom the voter voted to beknown.(4) A voter shall(a) vote without unnecessary delay, and(b) leave the polling place as soon as the voter’s ballot has been placed in the ballot box.107(1) A person who receives a ballot shall not take it out of the polling place.(2) If a person contravenes subsection (1), the deputy returning officer shall make an entry in thepoll book in the appropriate column to the effect that the person received a ballot but took it outof the polling place.(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) forfeits the right to vote in the election. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 124
  • 125. 107.1(1) If a person returns the person’s ballot indicating that the person does not wish to markthe ballot, the deputy returning officer shall immediately write the word “declined” on the ballotand place it in the required envelope to be sent to the returning officer.(2) A person who returns a ballot under subsection (1)(a) forfeits the right to vote in the election, and(b) shall forthwith leave the polling place.One vote only110 An elector shall have one vote only.120(1) Each returning officer shall, following receipt of a writ,determine if there are in the electoral division(a) any treatment centres having not fewer than 10 in-patients who are electors, and(b) any supportive living facilities having not fewer than 10 residents who are electors.(2) If a returning officer determines that there are facilities as described in subsection (1), thereturning officer shall, immediately after nomination day,(a) determine, in consultation with an official of each supportive living facility, whether a mobilepoll should be held at the facility,(b) in consultation with an official of each supportive living facility where a poll is to be held andwith an official of each treatment centre(i) fix the hours on polling day when a mobile poll will operate at the facility, and(ii) determine the number of mobile polls to be established within the facility and the format thateach mobile poll is to take as either fixed location or bed-to-bed visitations, or both,and(c) appoint a deputy returning officer and poll clerk for each mobile poll so required. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 125
  • 126. FDA Audit Team and Associates:FDA Researchers:Mr. Stephen Garvey, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbia andMaster of Philosophy in Environment and Development, University of Cambridge.Mr. Mark Schmidt, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, University of Calgary.FDA Electoral Fairness Audit Team:Chief Electoral Auditor:Mr. Stephen Garvey, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbia andMaster of Philosophy in Environment and Development, University of Cambridge.Electoral Auditors:Mr. Shane Donovan, 4th year Political Science, University of Calgary.Mr. Dale Monette, Bachelor of Commerce, University of Saskatchewan.Mr. Mark Schmidt, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, University of Calgary.Ms. Lindsay Tetlock, Master of Arts in Historical Studies, University of Calgary.Report Writer:Mr. Stephen Garvey, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of British Columbia andMaster of Philosophy in Environment and Development, University of Cambridge.Report Reviewers:Mr. Michael Fabris, Bachelor of Accounting, Brock University.Mr. Dale Monette, Bachelor of Commerce, University of Saskatchewan.Mr. Aurangzeb Qureshi, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, University of Alberta andBachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Kings College.Mr. Milton Ortega, PhD candidate in Public Administration and Policy, Portland StateUniversity.Mr. Mark Schmidt, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, University of Calgary.Ms. Lindsay Tetlock, Master of Arts in Historical Studies, University of Calgary.Mrs. Liza Valentine, Master of Architecture, University of Calgary.* Special thanks goes to Mr. Milton Ortega for his comprehensive review of draft reports, Mr.Mark Schmidt, Mrs. Liza Valentine, and Ms. Lindsay Tetlock for their thorough edit of drafts,and Mr. Michael Fabris for his help with the reports visual presentation. Foundation for Democratic Advancement / 2012 FDA Electoral Fairness Audit of Alberta 126